Shortly after the special masters tasked with drawing Virginia’s legislative districts released their map proposals on Wednesday, potential congressional candidates across the commonwealth began making moves and leaking news that they are planning to run in the 2022 midterms.
The lines in the proposal are not final, however. They are just a proposal that two special masters submitted to the Supreme Court of Virginia (SCOVA) for review. The court is tasked with drawing the maps after the bipartisan redistricting commission failed earlier this year.
A new district in Northern Virginia with no incumbent is receiving a lot of attention from prominent Democrats in Prince William County. The 2021 lieutenant governor nominee Hala Ayala, state Del. Elizabeth Guzman, state Sen. Jeremy McPike, and former Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy are all considering a run in what would be the new seventh congressional district, according to sources close to each potential candidate.
Additionally, sources close to both officials say that Prince William County Supervisor Andrea Bailey (D) is considering a run in the seventh and Prince William Supervisor Jeanine Lawson (R) is considering a run either in the new seventh or tenth districts if the lines remain the same.
The only potential new seventh district candidate to release an official statement is McPike, who said he is “humbled by the calls” he has received encouraging him to run and he plans to make a decision in the “coming weeks.”
Moving south, Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Henrico) received a tough draw from the special master placing her in a more conservative district with Republican Congressman Rob Wittman. The long list of Republicans that have already announced their bids to run against Spanberger are also facing a tough decision as to whether they would want to primary Wittman if the lines remain the same.
One of those Republicans, state Sen. Bryce Reeves, has already announced that he will be seeking the Republican nomination in the tenth district in Northern Virginia, instead of running against Spanberger in the new first district. “Upon seeing the new proposed maps put out by the Supreme Court, I’m planning to run in the new proposed 10th Congressional District,” Reeves said Wednesday. “I’m also excited to reacquaint myself with the folks in the northern part of the district, many of whom I’ve had a great relationship with for many years.”
Taylor Keeney, a resident of Goochland would not seek to run a primary against Wittman and would drop out if the lines keep her in his district, according to a source close to her campaign. Del. John McGuire is also from Goochland and his campaign did not respond to questions.
On the southern side of Spanberger’s current district, state Sen. Amanda Chase and Tina Ramirez both reside in Chesterfield which was cut off from Henrico and placed in the same district as Republican Congressman Bob Good.
“It’s not lost on me that my current home address is just barely in the easternmost side of the 5th congressional district and Bob Good is barely in the 5th’s most western part of the district,” Chase said. “Clearly someone doesn’t want 2 conservative fighters in Congress. Bob Good is doing a good job and shouldn’t be challenged.”
The Ramirez campaign said they are waiting for district lines to be finalized before making any decisions.
Chase also echoed a similar sentiment. “My understanding is that it’s not over yet. The public should express their concern over the lack of communities of interest being put together, which is clearly not represented with these maps.”
In an interview with Virginia Scope Wednesday night, Chase said the Republican special master should be “tarred and feathered.”
Spanberger’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday night.
The maps are not final as SCOVA still has to approve them. It is unclear how much altering the court will do to the lines, but there seems to be a general consensus among operatives in both parties that the final maps will be similar to the ones released Wednesday.
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