McDonnell “displeased” with Senate redistricting bill

Monday’s surprise move to redraw Virginia’s legislative districts caught Gov. McDonnell off-guard and left him “displeased” with the Senate’s work:

Gov. Bob McDonnell said yesterday’s surprise redistricting effort from the members of his party in the state Senate was something he only learned about right before it happened.

Which indicates that it is sometimes possible to keep a secret in Richmond. Even from the Governor:

While the amendment was clearly in the works for some time, as Republicans provided to the press a full bill and a map of the proposed new districts, Democrats — and the governor — were unaware of the plan until it happened.

“I certainly don’t think that’s a good way to do business,” McDonnell told reporters this morning after speaking to a business group in Richmond.

Probably not. And there are unsubstantiated rumors floating around Capitol Square that the Senate’s actions were just a way to force Democrats into some sort of deal on transportation. That’s quite a leap. In this case, the simplest explanation is probably the most correct: they saw an opportunity and took it.

But I have a few calls out now to see just what the thinking was on this bill. Interestingly enough, the early calls I made have resulted not in answers, but rather in people trying to distance themselves from the matter entirely.


  • Mike Barrett

    I think many folks interested in politics and governance would have had the same reaction. Surprises and gotchas are disquieting and can cause unnecessary dissention and disruption. Of course, the same could be said for the Governor’s transportation package, announced in secret after the Speaker of the House had said not more than two weeks before that no major transportation legislation was possible nor desired in the short session of the Legislature. These surprise announcements by members of the Governor’s own party make one wonder if adult leadership has left the building.

    • DJRippert

      Really? Gov. McDonnell’s transportation package is a proposal that will have to be approved in the House and Senate. The redistricting scam is a fait accompli that has already passed the Senate in a decidedly undemocratic manner. McDonnell’s transportation plan will be subject to months of debate. The redistricting embarrassment received 30 minutes of discussion.

      Any comparison between the two is absurd.

    • DJRippert

      ” … after the Speaker of the House had said not more than two weeks before that no major transportation legislation was possible nor desired in the short session of the Legislature.”.

      This is exactly why Northern Virginia is going to become a “Republican free zone”. Hampton Roads may soon turn toward the Democrats as well.

      The last time that Virginia’s gas tax was raised (in cents per gallon) was 1987. Bill Howell became a delegate the next year. For 27 years the General Assembly has proven itself incapable of understanding inflation and inept on the critical question of transportation policy. Howell has been a leader in that reign of incompetence.

      The only state to have kept its gas tax frozen longer than Virginia is Alaska – a state that was awash in oil exploration royalties for much of the last 27 years.

      Now, Howell doesn’t have the time to address transportation in the “short session”. Well, transportation could cut into the critical business of trans-vaginal probes, anti-gay legislation, tax breaks for funeral urns launched into orbit from Virginia spaceports and other crucial Republican business. What the heck – people like Bill Howell have been too ignorant to understand inflation with respect to the frozen gas tax for 26 years, why would they worry now?

      All of you Republican stalwarts in Virginia ought to get on your hands and knees and kiss Bob McDonnell’s butt. He is the only glimmer of intelligent leadership in the Republican Party of Virginia.

      • Mike Barrett

        Wait one moment; I never said I agreed with Howell, just that he must have been surprised when the Governor sprang the transportation plan on him. People in high places don’t like to be surprised, especially by their friends.

  • Lovettsville Lady

    I’m hearing rumors that the Governor might veto the redistricting plan. Would he dare do that if it has passed both republican houses? Terrible move, politically, imo.

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