Elephant Ears

This blog is dedicated to the political happenings in the Valley and Southwest Virginia. As the the name implies, this blog will have posts based on what is heard by this elephant's (GOPer's) ears. It is also a great treat to get while at the county fair or a carnival.

Monday, April 24, 2006

10th and 11th Redraws

As the population of NOVA continues to explode, more and more congressional power will continue to be concentrated in the areas of Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties. For example, Frank Wolf's 10th district in 1990 ran from Rockingham County to Fairfax. In 2000 it lost Shenandoah, Page, Rappahannock, and Rockingham Counties; as well as a good portion of PWC. This trend will continue even more in 2010.

In 2010 Loudoun, PWC and Fairfax will have just over 3 congressional districts. This will create a quandary for the map drawers. With NOVA seemingly turning democratic it will be interesting to see how districts are drawn.
If Davis and Wolf are still in their seats (or other GOPs), the likely strategy will be to anchor the 10th with Loudoun County and the 11th with PWC and dilute the remaining Fairfax precincts not in the 8th between the 10th and 11th. The 8th district will grow some, so some of the weakest GOP precincts in the current 10th and 11th will be dumped into the 8th.
Currently Fairfax makes up about 66% of the 11th. Under the new 11th, Fairfax would only constitute about 57% of the district. If PWC can stay Republican, the 11th would be strengthened.
The 10th will undoubtably lose Frederick/Winchester, Warren and Clarke Counties; so it will lose its strong GOP areas. No matter what, the 10th will be a weaker GOP seat. With the recent losses in Loudoun County, it remains to be seen how long the GOP can count on that area as a stronghold. Either way, Loudoun would be 1/2 of the new 10th under this scenario.

The other possibility is that Davis and/or Wolf is no longer in congress and then a new 11th would be drawn as a relatively safe dem seat, in order to save the other seat. This would result in a 11th district that has the rest of Fairfax not in the 8th and the weakest GOP precincts in east Loudoun and PWC. The 10th would then have Manassas, and the rest of Loudoun and PWC (and maybe some of Fauquier depending on whether the 1st has some of PWC).
If the '05 governor's race is a trend this would still result in a competitive 10th and strong dem seat in the 11th. If '04 numbers are used, the 10th would be a relatively safe GOP seat while the 11th would be a moderately safe dem seat.
Those trends probably won't be very clear until at least the 2008 presidential election.

As you can see, congressional redrawing should lend some support to the belief the dems will gain from redistricting. With the 2nd district getting weakened, the likely loss of the 11th and maybe even the 10th, the GOP should have reason for concern. Their only hope for a congressional pickup is the 9th, which will happen eventually; but who knows when (hopefully this year).
A worst case scenario could see the dems actually take 6 of Virginia's 11 congressional districts (holding the 3 current ones and gaining the 2nd, 10th and 11th). The best scenario for the GOP is essentially a tradeoff of the 9th for the 11th.

If the '05 governor's race results were a trend and not an anomoly, it could be bad news for the GOP's congressional hopes going forward.


  • At 4/25/2006 1:34 PM, Anonymous NoVA Scout said…

    Nicely done. Excellent exegesis on how changing patterns of population will affect these fast-growing areas. I haven't gone through all the districts yet, but these (10th and 11th) are the ones I know best. If you're still a Hokie, I hope you get a professor to give you a wad of extra credit for this work. I'd rate it A+, and I'm a tough grader.

  • At 4/25/2006 6:32 PM, Blogger GOPHokie said…

    Well I appreciate the kind words Scout, but I am in business so I doubt they would give me any credit for this type of thing.

  • At 4/26/2006 10:19 PM, Anonymous NoVA Scout said…

    What the hell - I'd give you extra credit just on general principle. Nice work, man.


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