ICYMI: House Republicans Set the Record Straight on Redistricting

chriswest2017 General Assembly

Daily Press: GOP: Despite Court Ruling, current House map good for November
By: Travis Fain
March 2, 2017

“Republican leaders said their Supreme Court setback this week in a lawsuit over 11 legislative districts won’t have any effect on the coming House elections, which they expect to proceed with the current district boundaries.”

“They also flatly rejected Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s pitch, delivered by letter Thursday morning, to “drop your defense of Virginia’s gerrymandered map and work with me on the nonpartisan redistricting plan our Commonwealth deserves.”

“Speaker of the House William Howell called the letter “entirely premature” and “political gamesmanship.” 

“McAuliffe, Republican leaders noted Thursday, has signed on with the National Democratic Redistricting Trust, which among other things is expected to bring new suits against Republican drawn maps.”

“Former Attorney General Eric Holder heads the group.”

“Democrats are simply trying to use the courts “to do what they couldn’t do at the ballot box,” House Appropriations Chairman S. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, said Thursday.”

Richmond Times-Dispatch: McAuliffe urges GOP to let independent panel redraw 11 House districts; Speaker Howell calls idea premature
By: Andrew Cain
March 2, 2017

“Speaker of the House William J. Howell, R-Stafford, termed the governor’s idea “entirely premature.” Howell, on a press call with other House GOP leaders, said the redistricting case is “far from over” and that he does not think it will affect House elections in November.”

“Howell also termed the governor’s request “fairly hypocritical,” citing McAuliffe’s role as co-chair of the 2020 Redistricting Fund, a national push to elect Democratic governors who could oversee their states’ redrawing of congressional and legislative boundaries after the next U.S. census.”

“Howell reiterated Thursday that he was disappointed with the court ruling, but added that “the plaintiffs in this case did not prevail” and House GOP leaders are confident they will win the next round in court.”

“Howell accused the governor of “political gamesmanship” and Cox added: “We’ve seen this M.O. from the governor a lot — a lot of bluff, a lot of boldness — frankly, overstating the case dramatically.”

“Mark Braden of BakerHostetler LLC, one of the lawyers retained by the House of Delegates, asserted on the call that the case will not affect the upcoming election. “It’s too late,” Braden said.”

Washington Post: Republicans shrug off governor’s offer to seek nonpartisan redistricting
By: Gregory Schneider
March 2, 2017

“Del. S. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk), who led the effort to draw the districts in 2011, said Thursday that he found the governor’s offer amusing given the years that Democrats controlled the legislature and drew districts to their own liking.”

“For decades and decades, you never heard any push for nonpartisan redistricting until Republicans took over about 15 or 16 years ago, which I find real interesting,” he said.”

“Howell pointed out that former U.S. attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. is leading a new political organization, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, that is spending money to seek more favorable legislative districts.”

“In that light, he said, McAuliffe’s offer to work together is “hypocritical.”

“The House Republican caucus has retained the law firm of BakerHostetler to represent it in defending the districts. Mark Braden, a lawyer for the firm, said he remains “quite confident in a victory” once the case goes back to federal district court.”