Republicans push surprise redistricting plan through State Senate, Democrats protest

Plan puts Democrat Creigh Deeds in the same district as Republican Emmett Hanger

Joe Dashiell


3:20 PM PST, January 21, 2013



A surprise move in the State Senate could cost Bath County Senator Creigh Deeds his seat. Monday afternoon, Republicans pushed through a bill that puts the Democrat in the same district as Republican Emmett Hanger.

The plan also adjusts the boundaries of other districts, including the area that Roanoke Democrat John Edwards now represents.

GOP members say their goal was to create a new district in southern Virginia with a majority of minority voters, and improve compliance with the Voting Rights Act.

Deeds describes it as "a power grab," designed to increase Republican influence. In a phone interview Monday afternoon, Deeds said the vote has torn apart any working relationship between Senate Republicans and Democrats.