HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — A new House of Delegates map approved by federal judges would give democrats a boost in several districts here in Hampton Roads.
A panel of federal judges from the Eastern District of Virginia ordered a new map last year, after ruling that several House districts had been racially gerrymandered in the latest map from 2011.
An interactive analysis by the Virginia Public Access Project shows the new map would shift the majority of voters to democratic in districts currently held by republican delegates, including Del. Chris Jones in Suffolk’s 76th District and Del. Gordon Helsel’s 91st District on the Peninsula.
Democratic voters in the 76th would increase about 27 percent, and would increase 19 percent in the 91st district. Other key shifts to the left would include Virginia Beach districts currently held by Delegates Chris Stolle and Barry Knight.
Even Speaker of the House Kirk Cox’s district in Colonial Heights, currently solid red, would shift to barely Republican.
Cox calls the plan legally indefensible, saying it attempts to give democrats all the advantages. Right now, Republicans have a slim three-seat advantage in the House.
Opponents have until Feb. 1 to file appeals – at that point the new map would go into effect, but would be subject to a Republican appeal already before the U.S. Supreme Court.