New redistricting map leaves Dem Rep. Spanberger more vulnerable than previously thought

The Virginia Supreme Court approved a new redistricting map Tuesday that leaves a Democratic congresswoman vulnerable in 2022.

Earlier this year, a bipartisan commission that was supposed to draw maps for legislative districts could not make a final decision, thus kicking the matter to the state Supreme Court, according to The Washington Post.

The court then appointed two “special masters,” one nominated by Republicans and another by Democrats, to establish the new congressional and state legislative districts, the court noted in a news release Tuesday.

“The Final Redistricting Maps prepared by the Special Masters are fully compliant with constitutional and statutory law applied, as the Court directed, in an apolitical and nonpartisan manner,” Virginia’s highest judiciary body added in a court order.

So what do the new districts mean for the 2022 elections? For one thing, Virginia’s Seventh Congressional District, represented by Democratic congresswoman Abigail Spanberger, will no longer include many of the congresswoman’s current constituents.

Spanberger told the Richmond Times-Dispatch she still plans to run for re-election in the seventh district, even though the district’s lines have been redrawn significantly.

But she might have a harder time winning than she previously thought.

“Spanberger had been eyeing a run in the new Northern Virginia district since the Virginia Supreme Court issued draft redistricting maps earlier this month that blew up her current district and left her with no obvious seat in which to run for re-election,” the Times-Dispatch reported.

“The Times-Dispatch reported last week that Spanberger had started privately calling lawmakers to express interest in seeking out the Northern Virginia seat. At that point the proposed 7th included a larger portion of Prince William County and profiled as a safer Democratic seat,” the outlet added.

As the Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman noted, in a previous draft of the new redistricting map, the seventh district leaned more Democratic than it does in the final version.

Wasserman also said that the new map leaves Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria “very vulnerable” in 2022.

The Cook Political Report pegs Virginia’s Seventh Congressional District as “lean Democratic,” and rates Virginia’s new Second Congressional District as a “toss up.”

Even while states continue to draw new congressional districts — as they do every 10 years following the census — Wasserman predicted that Republicans are the favorites to win control of the House of Representatives in the 2022 midterms.

He tweeted Thursday: “@CookPolitical‘s 2022 House ratings for new districts, now that we’re past the halfway point of redistricting. Still a long way to go, but Republicans clear favorites for control.”