Today, DCCC Chairman Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney released the following statement on Virginia’s first draft Congressional map released by the special masters:
“Virginia’s first draft Congressional map is a disaster that completely fails to deliver fair representation that reflects the Commonwealth. Virginia voters wanted a bipartisan and transparent process. What they got was two people hastily drafting a map behind closed doors and ignoring public input.
“The first draft result is a deeply flawed and racially problematic map that prioritizes male incumbents while exclusively punishing female incumbents in the delegation. The special masters seem to be attached to a Virginia that exists only in the past. They must start the process from scratch and offer a map reflective of Virginia’s richly diverse population.”
In 2020, Virginia voters supported a bipartisan redistricting commission for a more open and transparent process to allow their voices to be heard. After the commission’s failure to do its job, it left it to two men to draft the map in a closed process which fails to incorporate the overwhelming public comment feedback to keep communities of interest together.
In the first draft map released by Virginia’s special masters last week, they prioritized protecting white communities including in Appalachia, while diverse cities and communities of interest were packed and cracked to dilute their representation. Nowhere is that clearer than in Central Virginia, where the special masters blatantly disregarded public comment to keep Henrico and Chesterfield together.
The special masters’ first draft also reflects a notable gender disparity in its treatment of incumbents. For a process that is not supposed to take incumbency into account, all three female incumbents in the delegation had their district change dramatically, while their male counterparts enjoy shored up districts.