On Monday, Virginia House of Delegates Majority Leader Todd Gilbert and House Privileges and Elections Committee Chairman Mark Cole reaffirmed their support for nonpartisan redistricting. This follows recent statements from House Democrats appearing to suggest they will no longer support the legislation as passed during the 2019 General Assembly Session.
“When the House Republican Majority committed to nonpartisan redistricting during the 2019 session, we meant it,” said House Majority Leader Todd Gilbert (R – Shenandoah). “When the voters of Virginia retain a Republican majority in the House of Delegates,we will continue to support the proposed Constitutional Amendment on second reference, and see it put before the voters of Virginia on the 2020 General Election ballot.”
In an article published Monday in the Virginia Mercury, Democrats indicated that their caucus may back away from its long-time support of nonpartisan redistricting should they win a majority in the House. A spokesperson for the House Democratic Caucus, when given the chance, refused to say if the position of the caucus would be to further support nonpartisan redistricting.
“The fact that Democrats are now wavering on this former bedrock position is instructive,” continued Gilbert. “Presented with the possibility of taking power, Democrats are now walking back their commitment to nonpartisan redistricting. What other firmly-held positions would House Democrats abandon if they won a majority?”
The Virginia Mercury further points out that Democrats “haven’t issued firm promises to support the amendment next year.”
“Republicans made a commitment to cleaning up our redistricting in 2019,” said House Privileges and Elections Committee Chairman Mark Cole (R – Spotsylvania). “Not only will it be nonpartisan, it will also end the practice of splitting precincts between districts. Our colleagues on the other side of the aisle have clamored for these reforms for years. The fact that they seem to be backing off their support for nonpartisan redistricting is enlightening and disappointing.”