cross posted from DownWithTyranny
Susan Hippen was trying to explain to me what was going on with Virginia’s new legislative districts this year, the first state legislative elections since the districts have been redrawn due to the 2020 census. I am not embarrassed to say that I only understood
half one quarter maybe one tenth of what she was trying to say. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb when I say hardly anyone understands exactly what happened or what is happening now. (Unless your name is David Nir, Stephen Wolf, or Howie Klein)
Seems no one could come up with a plan to get the districts drawn properly/fairly, so there was an amendment put on the 2020 ballot. In the end, the Supreme Court assigned two experts to draw the lines. (A 5-page piece could be written on this part, but I think I summed it up fine.)
As a result, a lot of incumbents are looking at moving to try and find the path of least resistance in this upcoming election.
In the past, when the majority party in Richmond drew the lines, the mapmakers were always careful to keep in mind where incumbents lived — both to protect their own and disadvantage those on the other side. The court-appointed special masters who drew the maps we’ll be using for the rest of the decade did no such thing, which resulted in many legislators from both parties winding up paired with fellow legislators — and then many “new” districts being created without any incumbents at all. cardinalnews.org/...
I reached out to 90for90 in the hope of understanding this better. That helped a little. It seems the incumbents are playing musical chairs trying to find a piece of their current district within the new district that seems favorable. If they can find an overlapping area, they can move there and run for office.
Some of them don’t have to move. They live in an area that overlaps their old and new district. They are lucky.
Others are moving in with their mothers, their cousins, or renting a house to have a favorable chance at reelection. They do this because the new boundary lines drawn around their residence are unfavorable; either because it now leans too far R or D, or it’s too hard to win because they’ll have a tough primary.
Under the new maps approved last year, half of the state’s 40 senators were drawn into a district with one or more other senators, according to analysis by the Virginia Public Access Project. In the House, 44 of 100 delegates were paired with at least one colleague. Some of those pairings have already been resolved, partly because the maps also created dozens of new districts with no incumbent. Legislators paired with each other have a few basic options: a head-to-head election matchup with a colleague, resignation or running for a different seat. www.virginiamercury.com/...
Some candidates are stuck in a Catch 22 though. The problem is spelled out in the Virginia Constitution, Article 4, Section 4:
A senator or delegate who moves his residence from the district for which he is elected shall thereby vacate his office. law.lis.virginia.gov/…
Graham Moomaw explains:
drawing new attention to a little-known provision in the Virginia Constitution that says any delegate or senator who moves out of their current district to run in a new one automatically forfeits the office they hold. www.virginiamercury.com/...
The big catch is that you must file by April 6th to be a candidate in the primary in June. In order to file you have to be a resident in the district you intend to run in. As I mentioned above, some incumbents are lucky enough to not have to move at all, some are lucky enough to have an overlapping piece of the two districts and they can move there.
A few are unlucky and have a very difficult choice if they want to continue their political careers.
When an incumbent moves to find a new district to run in that doesn't overlap, that means they automatically and instantly vacate their office. Once they’ve moved, they are no longer a senator or a delegate which disqualifies them from participating when the assembly reconvenes April 12th for the governor's veto session. That’s their choice.
Or they could choose to suspend their political careers temporarily for a few years in order to represent their constituents in the important veto session.
That is some conundrum. It’s a difficult choice. I don’t have any solutions or suggestions for solutions. What I do have is some great candidates for you to back. Most of them are not incumbents and already know where they are running. Please help these Democrats out.