The map still must receive preclearance from the Justice Department or a federal court to comply with the Voting Rights Act, and a lawsuit challenging the redistricting process still could throw a wrench in the gears.
The new map makes it more difficult for Democrats to increase their representation in the delegation, but Democratic strategists believe they can compete in at least two GOP-held districts. Rep. Scott Rigell’s (R) 2nd district is likely the most competitive.
While the plan protects Democratic incumbents, state legislative Democrats criticized the plan for packing African-Americans into Rep. Bobby Scott’s (D) 3rd district instead of creating a second minority-influenced district, which state Senate Democrats included in the plan that chamber passed last year. African-Americans account for one-fifth of the state’s population.
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Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.