- Associated Press - Thursday, May 26, 2016

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A new court-ordered congressional map in Virginia is causing a candidate shuffle.

Republican Congressman Randy Forbes lives in the 4th Congressional District, which he’s represented for 15 years, but is running the neighboring 2nd Congressional District. Henrico County Sheriff Mike Wade lives in the 7th Congressional District, but is running as a Republican in the 4th District.

Earlier this year, a panel of federal judges ordered the state to impose a new redistricting plan crafted by a court-appointed expert. The panel had previously ruled that lawmakers in 2012 illegally packed black voters into the 3rd Congressional District, represented by Democrat Bobby Scott, to make surrounding districts safer for GOP incumbents. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the new map on Monday.

Federal law doesn’t require congressmen to live in the districts they represent, though most of them do.

The most noteworthy outcome of the new Virginia map was to make the 4th Congressional District, which stretches from Richmond to the Hampton Road area and is held by Forbes, much more friendly to Democrats by significantly increasing the number of African-American voters.

“The injury is so severe that it forced him out of his district,” Forbes’s lawyer, Michael Carvin, argued before the Supreme Court.

Forbes has opted to run in the 2nd, which is currently held by retiring GOP Rep. Scott Rigell and includes much of the Hampton Roads area.

Forbes has campaigned on his seniority in on spending matters affecting the Navy and Marines as reason why he should represent the 2nd, which includes the Norfolk Naval Base.

“Hampton Roads doesn’t just rely on a strong military - a strong military relies on Hampton Roads,” Forbes said in a statement. “I believe in protecting and defending this nation, and in growing and sustaining the region I call home.”

Wade initially filed paperwork to run in his home district, the 7th District, currently held by Rep. Dave Brat. But Wade switched to run in the 4th District after Forbes’ decision not to seek re-election in his current district.

“Quite frankly, that’s the question I get asked all the time. ‘If Randy Forbes doesn’t think he can win what makes you think you can?’” Wade said.

Wade said his efforts as sheriff to improve mental health access and work on reducing substance abuse should help him win the newly drawn 4th District.

Back in the 2nd District, Forbes is facing off against Scott Taylor, a former Navy SEAL and current state House delegate, and attorney Pat Cardwell.

Forbes has a commanding fundraising lead, but the race has become heated heading into the June 14 primary. Taylor said Forbes has abandoned his longtime constituents in favor of furthering his political career.

“Once the fighting got a little bit tough, he’s running to save his own butt,” Taylor said. “This is cowardly.”

Forbes has countered with ads attacking Taylor over speeding tickets and failed business ventures, and the Forbes campaign has tried to portray the 36-year-old Taylor as unprepared for a congressional seat.

“Rhetoric of that sort is not only immature and unstable, but it’s exactly the reason why people are supporting Randy Forbes over Scott Taylor,” said Chris LaCivita, a Forbes campaign strategist.

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