Republicans are holding a redistricting marathon in Richmond. Senate GOP caucused for hours on Thursday to debate whether to accept a deal with Democrats, who hold the majority, over a second redistricting map everyone hopes Gov. Bob McDonnell won’t veto this time around.
House and Senate sessions scheduled for Thursday afternoon continued to be pushed back as legislators said they were getting closer to reaching agreement. Members of both parties met behind closed doors Monday through Wednesday this week, working to broker a deal that includes compromises for both sides.
Democrats, who hold a 22-18 majority in the Senate, passed a plan several weeks ago down straight party lines. Governor Bob McDonnell vetoed the first map, saying their plan split too many localities, created districts that weren’t compact and hadn’t won over any GOP votes.
Senate Democrats say their members have signed off on the new plan, but are waiting on the Republican caucus to reach consensus. Several GOP senators involved in drawing the plans have said they expect a vote before the day is over.
Mr. McDonnell said on WRVA’s “Ask the Governor” program that he was briefed on the new map Thursday morning and expects “some progress” on the legal concerns he had with the last map. Under the federal Voting Rights Act, the U.S. Department of Justice must sign off on the new district maps.
“I expected to see some bipartisan cooperation between the Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats on coming up with a plan that was equitable,” he said. “I don’t have full feedback from both caucuses yet on that but given where we were 12 days ago, which was we’re not changing a period or a comma, we’ve come a long way.”