Eastern Shore’s legislative future becomes clearer with Redistricting Commission’s competing maps

October 7, 2021
Eastern Shore 2020 Election

While there is still a long way to go before anything is final, the competing Democratic and Republican drawn maps currently being debated by Virginia’s new bipartisan Redistricting Commission show near identical thinking for the Eastern Shore House of Delegates District, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

The Commission, made up of eight members and eight legislators with equal representation among the two political parties, resorted to hiring two consultants to draw maps after initial drawings were met with stern rebukes from sitting politicians.

In both those drawings, the Eastern Shore’s House of Delegates District moves its piece across the bay from Norfolk to the Chick’s Beach, directly off the Bay Bridge Tunnel. According to 2016 voting data, the drawings would make the Eastern Shore’s district more red.

However, the two sides have disagreements over the Virginia Senate District which includes the Eastern Shore.

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In the Democratic proposal, Virginia Senate District 21 would extend geographically into Virginia Beach. According to the 2016 voting data, this proposed district voted 47.8% to 46.6% in favor of President Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. The population makeup of this plan would be 79.1% Virginia Beach, 15.3% Accomack County and 5.6% Northampton County.

In the Republican plan, proposed Senate District 21 would fan out, so to speak, from Chick’s Beach stretching into Ocean View to the northwest and then southeast into Virginia Beach. The Republican plan shows a 49.1% to 45.4% edge to President Trump in the 2016 elections. The population make up of this plan would be 41.7% Norfolk, 37.9% Virginia Beach, 15% Accomack County and 5.5% Northampton County.

Still, nothing has been finalized, and in all likelihood the matter will ultimately be decided by Virginia’s Supreme Court.

“We expected this outcome,” said Del. Delores McQuinn, a Richmond Democrat, “and anyone who thought it would be anything else, I own the London Bridge and I’ll sell you a piece.”

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Finalization of Virginia’s House of Delegates and Senate maps are due this Sunday, October 10.

“We’ve got to take this cake and rebake it, or at least remake it,” McQuinn added.


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