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Downballot: VA's controversial redistricting power play

“A Republican-led redistricting plan in Virginia — pushed through the state Senate by a one-vote margin while a Democratic senator was in Washington attending the Inauguration — is drawing outrage from Democrats and criticism from GOP Gov. Bob McDonnell,” Politico notes. “The plan to redraw state Senate districts passed Monday after limited debate on a 20-19 party-line vote. It would create a new majority-minority district in the state but would change almost all existing district lines and force two senators — Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Emmett W. Hanger Jr. — into a single district.”

The Virginian-Pilot: “Senate Democrats still seething Tuesday over Republicans' unilateral redistricting rewrite a day earlier delivered fiery floor speeches, calling out the GOP caucus for practicing raw politics for their own gain ‘under the guise of being good to black folks.’”

The Richmond Times-Dispatch: The prospects for bipartisan cooperation on a transportation fix at this year’s General Assembly session appeared dimmer Tuesday as Democrats intensified their criticism over a surprise redistricting maneuver by Senate Republicans that was designed to strengthen their hold on the chamber in future elections.

Said Bob McDonnell: “This is not an issue that I advocated, and I was surprised about the vote yesterday,” McDonnell said Tuesday morning after a breakfast hosted by the National Federation of Independent Business. “I certainly don’t think that’s a good way to do business.”