RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — With Virginia’s new congressional map set, eyes are now on potential swing districts for the 2022 midterms.
Republicans need to net five seats in the U.S. House of Representatives to take control of the chamber and the Senate is split 50-50. Democrats secured a 7-4 majority in Virginia’s congressional delegation in 2018 and narrowly maintained that edge after the 2020 midterms.
But the GOP could take a majority of the state’s 11 congressional seats in a very good year for Republicans, according to the experts appointed to help the Supreme Court of Virginia redraw the state’s congressional and legislative districts.
“Generally, however, we would expect to see a 6-5 Democratic edge in Virginia’s delegation. In very good Democratic years, Democrats might perhaps achieve the same 7-4 advantage that they now enjoy from having won two highly competitive seats in 2020,” the mapdrawers, who based the projections on results for all statewide elections from 2016-2020, wrote in a memo to the court.
How the districts will vote won’t be known until the ballots are counted, but looking through past voting data can paint a picture of the new congressional districts. Here is a look at the changes in the area:
Virginia’s 1st Congressional District
The district held by Republican Rep. Rob Wittman since 2007 now includes western Henrico County and western Chesterfield County.
According to an analysis by the Virginia Public Access Project, these portions of Henrico and Chesterfield make up 44.5% of the new 1st Congressional District. York County, the cities of Williamsburg and Poquoson have also been added to the new district.
VPAP’s analysis, based off the 2016 presidential election results, shows a solid Republican district and the mapdrawers’ analysis found the new district went for GOP candidates by, on average, an eight-point margin.
Localities no longer part of the 1st District: The counties of Caroline, Fauquier, King George, Prince William, Spotsylvania, Stafford and the city of Fredericksburg.
Virginia’s 4th Congressional District
Rep. Donald McEachin’s district, which he has represented since 2017, is relatively intact but it appears to favor Democrats even more than before. McEachin (D) won over 60% of the vote in 2018 and 2020, easily defeating his Republican challengers.
The new district still includes the city of Richmond, eastern Henrico and eastern Chesterfield, but it picks up voting precincts in those counties that favored Democrats in recent midterms and during the 2020 gubernatorial race.
Localities no longer part of the 4th District: The cities of Chesapeake — which McEachin has never won — and Suffolk.
Virginia’s 5th Congressional District
Rep. Bob Good (R) won the 5th Congressional District seat in the 2020 midterms after defeating former Republican Rep. Denver Riggleman in a primary.
The district has favored Republicans and the new boundaries include localities — like Lynchburg and Amelia, Goochland, Louisa, Powhatan and Nottoway counties — that went against Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D) in 2018 and 2020.
The analysis from the mapdrawers found that the new 5th District favors Republicans by about 8 percentage points.
Localities no longer part of the 5th District: The counties of Brunswick, Fauquier, Franklin, Greene, Henry, Madison and Rappahannock.
Virginia’s 7th Congressional District
Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, represented by Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D) since 2019, has moved from Central Virginia to Northern Virginia. The district no longer includes the western Henrico suburbs or western Chesterfield County, which were considered as Spanberger’s base during her two congressional runs.
Despite losing that voting bloc, the new 7th District now has a portion of heavily Democratic Prince William County and the city of Fredericksburg.
The mapdrawers project a 7 percentage point edge for Democrats in the new 7th District. A VPAP analysis, which is based on the 2016 presidential election results, shows only a slight advantage for Democratic candidates.
The new district still has the counties of Culpeper, Orange and Spotsylvania, counties Spanberger lost in 2018 and 2020.
Localities no longer part of the 7th District: The counties of Amelia, Chesterfield, Goochland, Henrico, Louisa, Nottoway and Powhatan.