McDonnell gives thumbs-up to new redistricting plan

Gov. Bob McDonnell said late Thursday that he will sign a compromise legislative redistricting plan that has met with approval in the House of Delegates and State Senate.

McDonnell had vetoed the first redistricting proposal that had made its way to his desk earlier this month citing what he said were issues with the plan endorsed by the Democratic-majority State Senate. The veto led to a war of words between McDonnell, a Republican, and Democratic leaders in the State Senate, but cooler heads apparently prevailed as Senate leaders on both sides of the political aisle worked together on a compromise that passed the Senate by a 32-5 vote earlier Thursday.

The major components of the compromise shift some Senate district lines in the Richmond and Virginia Beach areas and push two Republican senators, Ralph Smith and Stephen Newman, into one district. The plan also shifts lines in the 19th Senate District, which is currently held by a Republican, Bill Stanley.

“In my veto letter, I asked the Senate to send me a plan that was bipartisan and addressed potential legal issues. The plan approved today is in line with those goals. This plan retains more geographic and municipal boundaries, contains districts that are somewhat more compact, and passed the Senate on a strong bipartisan vote,” McDonnell said in a statement Thursday night.

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