State races just aren’t competitive.

Bob Gibson’s column a couple of days ago was about how ridiculously uncompetitive Virginia races are after Republicans’ 2001 redistricting. In Central Virginia, we’ve got Connie Brennan challenging Del. Watkins Abbitt. One major party general election challenger so far — that’s it. Democrats in the General Assembly have got to pledge that they’ll put nonpartisan redistricting into place when they regain the majority, and the rest of us have to hold their feet to the fire come 2011.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

10 replies on “State races just aren’t competitive.”

  1. The democrats really have no room to complain. Consider their most recent exploits in apportionment:

    1980-Despite legal advice that the US supreme court would overturn multi-member districts, the Democratic Party controlled General Assembly sent up a plan with numerous multi member districts. The USC did throw it out, the state had to apportion again, and Virginia got to have delegate elections in 1981, 1982, and 1983.

    1990-In an effort to stem the rising GOP tide, the democrats reapportioned to put 14 incumbent GOP delegates together into 7 districts. The GOP had to effectively be plus 7 to stay where they were prior to the apportionment. Oh, and there was that little thing of throwing George Allen into a district with Tom Bliley.

    So, while it is true that the GOP cut up the state into many non-competitive races, they were simply building on the work done by the Democrats in years past.

    And I will almost guarantee you one cynical thing…Moran’s trumpeting of non-partisan redistricting is a sham. He wants to be able to apportion to a majority when the democrats come back into power-he just wanted to get the GOP to vote down his plan so it could be used as an election issue.

  2. Bwana, you labor the obvious, it was bad then and it is bad now.

    But this Democrat is all about no-partisan redistricting, so are a lot of Democrats who I know . . . by the way, wasn’t the non-partisan redistricting bill Senator Deed’s bill? Didn’t follow the session that closely, but I am pretty sure . . .

    So please stop trying to attribute words and thoughts and motives . . .

    Funny thing though, you deride assumed motives of your political opponents where you implicitly defend the very same motives of your political allies.

  3. Creigh Deeds has been pushing for non-partisan redistricting for years, and this year he finally got it through the Senate.

    I don’t know how sincere Brian Moran’s interest in it is. This is the first time that the bill made it to the House, and it didn’t get anywhere. But then, the Republicans in the House are a different species from the rest of the political beasts down there…

  4. Brother Sheridan-

    I do labor the obvious…particularly as in politics past performance typically accurately predicts future results.

    I don’t deride conduct on one side and defend on the other…I deride the hypocrisy I detect in Mr. Moran’s legislation. If this issue was so important to him, why didn’t he offer it when the democrats were in the majority?

    Are the GOP as bad? Absolutely. Are they hypocritical on the issue? Absolutely.

    But I also recognize that human nature is in play here. Brian Moran-just like the GOP in the early 1990’s-wants to win, knows the majority will vote against this bill, doesn’t expect it to pass, and wants it as an issue…and once in the majority-and just like the ocean comes in and out, the democrats will at some time be back in the majority-he will orphan this legislation and its concepts…because these days in politics no one who has the whip hand is likely to voluntarily give it up.

  5. The democrats really have no room to complain.

    By “the democrats,” do you mean me? Or do you mean “democrats in the General Assembly”? Or do you mean “democrats who have been in the General Assembly since 1998 or previous”? Or do you mean “democrats who have been in the General Assembly since 1998 or previous who did not support nonpartisan redistricting when they were in the majority”?

    I assume it’s the last in that list, but it’s worth asking.

  6. Yeah. I really don’t care what happened pre-1998 with other Democrats or Republicans. It’s school yard tactics to say “Well they did it first!”

    I just know that there is a simple solution that will allow for competitive elections in the future that will benefit Virginia as a whole. Power is fleeting. It ebbs and flows. When the Democrats take back the House and Senate, I hope that they will not become bitter and take it out on the voters by keeping the status quo. That’s what I care about.

  7. I agree, and I intend to keep pushing on this. I’ve speculated that the best time to get nonpartisan redistricting passed is when one party is on the verge of losing power just before redistricting (since they have the power to change it at that point, but may be helped rather than constrained by the results.) With luck, we may have such a perfect storm in the coming sessions.

  8. I agree with Kevin and Jim; and Waldo made part of the point that I was trying to make. So there you go.

    Oh and Bwana you are quite right about human nature, but all humans dont have quite the same nature: attention to Waldo’s most recent post.

    There are some Ds who want nonpartisan redistricting and there are those who might just be posturing. Dont paint us with the same brush, and lets hope the ones who are genuine, win.

  9. Bwana, if multimember districts for state legislatures are unconstitutional, how does Maryland manage to have them for its House? What was different about Virginia’s?

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