I’ve often said that if Virginia’s 1st District was as conservative, politically active, and politically educated as the folks in Hanover County, we’d be a lot better off. It never occurred to me that we could simply annex Hanover for ourselves. Clearly, gifting the 1st District with Hanover County wasn’t the point of the new maps, which targeted the 7th District in ways which had absolutely nothing to do with with the original lawsuit over the racial composition in the 3rd District.
While I don’t believe that their ploy to rob Congressman Brat of his most conservative base in Hanover will ultimately lead to an establishment Republican primary victory, they have certainly made things more difficult and expensive for the Congressman. The hardest hit by this plan are the grassroots conservatives in Hanover itself. These people worked around the clock to nominate Dave Brat and to replace then House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Now, they could end up being represented by Congressman Rob Wittman. That has to be a strange experience to form such a strong relationship with your Congressman only to have a couple liberal judges swoop in and decide that he’s no longer your Congressman. I will feel terrible for Hanover residents if these changes hold.
I do not like the idea of unelected federal officials making redistricting decisions for citizens within the 50 States. I don’t like the idea of non-partisan commissions or any other clever tweak to make the process of redistricting appear less politically motivated. Of course this new map is as politically motivated as if the Democrats in our state legislature would have redrawn them themselves. Only, the people making these dire political decisions aren’t elected and cannot be voted out of office. The people affected have no recourse. They just have to take it.
While I am hoping for a miracle that these changes will not take place, I’m quite certain they’ll stand. For now. I know being annexed by the Historic 1st District won’t be taken well by most people in Hanover, but if the new map stays, then I would like to say to Hanover County, you are most welcome in the 1st District! I will value your commitment to civic duty in the 1st District more than you’ll ever know.