Virginia Redistricting: Making the “Ins” Further “In”

Stuart Rothenberg January 20, 2012 · 3:10 PM EST

Virginia’s new congressional districts don’t dramatically alter the partisanship of many districts, but the lines do solidify incumbents from both parties.

Democrat Gerry Connolly’s 11th District becomes about five points more Democratic, making his already Democratic-leaning district safe for him and for his party. Republican presidential candidate John McCain failed to draw 40% in the redrawn district.

On the GOP side, veteran Frank Wolf’s district becomes a couple of points more Republican, insulating him further from a Democratic challenge. Wolf won reelection comfortably in both 2006 and 2008, strong Democratic years. His new district should see a competitive contest when he eventually retires.

Freshman Republican Robert Hurt’s new district will stretch from the North Carolina border all the way to Fauquier County in Northern Virginia. Fauquier, a fast-growth suburban county, went for both McCain in 2008, George Allen (R) in the 2006 Senate race, and George W. Bush in 2004.

Republican Randy Forbes, who was elected in a 2001 special election, finds his district slightly more Republican under the new lines. His new district went narrowly for McCain in 2008, while Barack Obama won his old district narrowly.

Finally, freshman Scott Rigell’s district changes little. It retains a Republican bent, but Rigell could well be vulnerable to a strong Democratic challenge, in 2012 and beyond.