POWER GRAB IN ‘OL VIRGINNY: The Virginia State Senate is made up of twenty Democrats and twenty Republicans. But on the night of the inauguration it was 20-19. Why? Because Democratic State Senator Henry Marsh was missing. Marsh was in Washington to celebrate the second inauguration of President Obama. The absence of Sen. Marsh, 79, who is also a civil rights leader, provided the GOP with a chance to pass something that would not ordinarily be approved. Why the Virginia State Senate even in session on the King Holiday is an open question.
What did Virginia’s Republicans pass in a sneak attack during Monday evening? A rigged redistricting bill under the fake title of so-called “technical corrections.” The “corrections” passed alters VA’s Senate districts for Republicans to win the next election and maintain a majority for years. It also eliminates two Democratic Senate seats. The mastermind of the sneak attack was State Sen. John Watkins of Chesterfield. Of course, Watkins picks up support under the new rigged Virginia map he helped pass.
Given the demographic changes in the state generally, winning by way of democracy has become increasingly difficult for the GOP. The Washington Post called what Virginia’s Senate Republicans passed “a radically gerrymandered map.”
Kenton Ngo, an expert in political redistricting in Virginia, tweeted the details of what Virginia’s Republican’s passed. “EXCLUSIVE: Map of mid-decade Virginia Senate district lines over 2012 election, race shows deliberate use of VRA districts,” Ngo informed. As usual regarding redistricting in Virginia, race appears to be a motivating factor in what happened on Monday night.
So far Gov. Bob McDonnell had indicated he wasn’t thrilled with the Senate’s move but hasn’t said he would veto it. What Virginia’s GOP Senate passed still must clear the VA House.
As reported by TPM, the Virginia Senate adjourned Monday night, “in memory of General ‘Stonewall’ Jackson,” according to the minutes of the session. Jan. 21 is the Confederate general’s birthday.”