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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Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.