I don't know why, but I have a lot of fun redistricting Virginia. Maybe it's because the state used to be so reliably Republican and it's moving towards us. Maybe it's the joy of trying to see how possible it is to unpack the majority-black third district, or maybe it's trying to see if it's ever possible to try to unseat Frank Wolf. Whatever it is, my absurd fascination with Virginia produces this new map, and boy did I have fun with this guy! I had a few goals in mind with this one:
1. Unpack VA-03 enough to at least give us a solid chance in VA-02 and VA-05, while still keeping it majority-black by VAP
2. Protect all Democratic incumbents (particularly Gerry Connolly in VA-11)
3. Make VA-10 Democratic enough that if Frank Wolf ever retires, we'd be favorites to win the seat.
4. Create a majority-minority district in NoVA
So did I succeed, or is all of this just a pipe-dream of a crazy New Mexican who has an unhealthy obsession with Virginia? Well, let's go below the flip to check...
So, let's talk about what I've done to the Republicans (and honestly, I wasn't really caring much about the Republican districts except insofar as I was able to strengthen the Democratic districts). This map pretty much screws over Scott Rigell and Robert Hurt; as they both have to make a decision to either run in districts that have become quite hostile to them, or try to run against Randy Forbes in the newly created sinkhole that is VA-04. Even more hilarious is that I realized that I had actually redistricted Bob Goodlatte out of VA-06 into VA-05 (although realistically he'd run in VA-06, in addition to the fact that VA-05 is easily too Democratic for him to win, VA-06 still has most of his home area, although Hurt might run in the sixth as well, given that Goodlatte absorbs some new territory as well). Really, the only Republicans who don't get a major shakeup is going to be Morgan Griffith and Rob Wittman (although Griffith's district does get renamed as the 8th, mostly because I wanted to have the NoVA districts all be in the same grouping). And, of course, because VA-05 becomes so Democratic, it stages the perfect comeback for ex-Rep. Tom Perriello.
So looking at VA-02 and VA-03 (and, at the statewide level VA-05) you can see that the general outline of VA-03 doesn't really change (although it does become even uglier... go me!) there are huge dividends paid out. VA-02 goes from a toss-up at best, to having a profound Democratic lean (maybe Glenn Nye tries to run again, or another, more progressive, Democrat runs).
So let's start with the bad news, this map will not force out Frank Wolf (I don't really think that it's possible to create a map that forces out Wolf at this point). Not only that, but McLean is still in the 10th district (sorry DCCyclone!) but at the same time, this district will almost certainly fall into Democratic hands once Frank Wolf retires (and this might make Wolf have to actually try this time around, which might make him consider retiring). Plus, not only was I able to strengthen VA-11 and keep Gerry Connolly safe, I was able to turn his district barely into a majority-minority district (although I imagine that in practice the electorate is still easily majority-white). This was accomplished by switching Democratic parts of VA-01 with more Republican parts of VA-11, and unpacking what's now VA-09. I suppose that Jim Moran might not be totally happy with this arrangement, but he's still safe, so I doubt he'd have a fit about it.