This Week in Statehouse Action: Spring Cleaning edition


Ah, spring. The time of year when cleaning is somehow a seasonal obligation.

But truly, there’s nothing wrong with having a little extra motivation to tidy one’s environs, jettison old crap you don’t need any more, and enjoy fresh, clean surroundings.

And maybe while you’re at it, you can unclutter your brain, too.

Because, as always, there’s lots and lots of statehouse action to gunk it up.

Here, let me put that in some neat little boxes for you …

Campaign Action

[Virginia]: As the commonwealth’s House Democratic caucus held its second candidate training of the cycle this past weekend, my colleagues at Daily Kos Elections were hard at work doing math and stuff.

But not just any math. They were figuring out just how much Virginia’s new, un-racially gerrymandered House of Delegates map benefits Team Blue. Turns out, it’s, like … a lot. See, under that old, GOP-drawn, unconstitutionally racist map, Hillary Clinton won 51 of the state’s 100 House of Delegates seats—despite the fact that she beat Trump solidly statewide in 2016 (50-45, specifically). Also in 2016, Democrats held just 34 of those House seats. That all changed, of course, when Dems flipped 15 seats in November 2017. After that election, one Democrat held a Trump-won seat, and three Republicans represented Clinton-won districts. But this all gets blown up under the new map. That court-drawn map creates 56 Clinton-carried districts—reasonable for a state that gave her a five-point win over Trump—and puts Republicans in seven seats she won (that one Dem-held Trump seat now would have gone for Clinton). It’s worth noting that much of Virginia’s state House map remains unaltered. The court-ordered remedy to Republicans’ effort to undermine the voting power of black voters to create more safe seats for their party changes only 25 of the 100 districts—those found to be racially gerrymandered and the neighboring seats that had to be tweaked accommodate the necessary fixes. If you’re really looking to nerd out, here’s a cool chart that compares the 2016 presidential results in each redrawn seat under the new maps and the old map. The garbage fire consuming the commonwealth’s three constitutional statewide officeholders could still end up being a drag on other Democrats this fall (though recent polling indicates this is not the case), but all things considered, Team Blue could end up having a pretty rosy November. … and by “rosy” I mean flip the two House seats needed to take the majority and the single Senate seat needed to control that chamber, giving Democrats unified government in Virginia for the first time in almost 30 years (and just in time for the next round of redistricting).
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