A Republican effort to redistrict Virginia's state senate appears to directly target Dist. 29 Sen. Chuck Colgan (D-Prince William).
The changes, introduced as an amendment to a larger bill late Monday, are awaiting House approval, but Democrats — who called the move an attempt to gain control of the evenly-split senate — are gearing up for a fight.
The new district map would shift Dale City voters to District 37, replacing them in Colgan's district with voters in Bristow, Gainesville, Lake Ridge and Occuquan — strengthening GOP numbers in what was a toss-up district.
Delegate Luke Torian (D-Prince William) issued a statement Monday expressing frustration at the Senate map changes and the impact it will have on Colgan's district.
"I have concerns over the decision that was made today and as a result
I will continue to ask questions until I understand what happened to
Prince William and what happened to the Commonwealth," Torian said.
District 39 Sen. George Barker (D-Fairfax) will also see more GOP voters, according to the Virginia Public Access Project map. Barker will lose much of the area representing eastern Fairfax County and parts of Prince William County and head west to Centreville.
Republicans called the statewide redistricting attempt "an effort to create another majority black Senate district." It comes two years after Gov. Bob McDonnell signed the state's traditional redistricting plan, crafted every 10 years with census data in years that end in "1."
Introducing yet another plan is unconstitutional, Senate democrats say; voting while Democratic State Sen. Harry Marsh, a 79-year-old civil rights leader, traveled to Washington for President Barack Obama's second inauguration was "underhanded."
"This redistricting is out of time, out of order and outside the constitution which states that redistricting can only be done in 2011. Our community is being politically torn apart without any input or consideration," Petersen said in a statement after voting against the bill. "This measure is taken on a day when the nation is re-inaugurating our President, and celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King. It is done outside the ordinary calendar and with the intent to maximize Republican power. There is no other purpose."
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