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Despite redistricting, Virginia districts largely saw lopsided margins of victory Tuesday

"I Voted" stickers are available at an early voting location in Alexandria, Va., Monday, Sept. 26, 2022.
Andrew Harnik
"I Voted" stickers are available at an early voting location in Alexandria, Va., Monday, Sept. 26, 2022.

Although most of the attention goes to close races, most of Virginia’s congressional seats are seeing a lopsided result.

Most incumbent members of Congress on the ballot in Virginia this year received more than 60% support from voters in their new districts. Those new maps came as the result of a redistricting commission that deadlocked, leading to court-drawn maps as a way to remove partisan gerrymandering.

Nick Goedert at Virginia Tech says removing gerrymandering will not necessarily make districts more competitive.

"If you draw compact districts that respect existing boundaries and keep communities of interest together, they are going to tend to draw non-competitive seats," Goedert explains. "The fact that the state Supreme Court actually drew three of Virginia's 11 districts to be competitive is relatively speaking a high number."

The new districts also have a racial undertone in Hampton Roads, where the new more conservative version of the 2nd Congressional District no longer includes Black voters in Norfolk. Jatia Wrighten at Virginia Commonwealth University says communities of color are often harmed by redistricting.

"You are now getting less descriptive representation," Wrighten says. "So, it's more difficult to elect a person of color because those communities have either been cut up or their power has been diminished."

The most lopsided victories are opposite ends of the Commonwealth. Congressman Morgan Griffith got 74% of the vote in southwest Virginia’s 9th Congressional District, while Congressman Don Beyer received 73% of the vote in northern Virginia.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.