Virginia voters returned Democrats to the White House and the Senate Tuesday, but helped Republicans maintain their majority over the state's U.S. House delegation led by Rep. Eric Cantor, the House majority leader.
According to the Richmond Times Dispatch
, the Republicans held on to their five-seat majority in the delegation, helped primarily by redrawn district boundaries that virtually guaranteed the GOP 8 seats on the 11-member delegation.
"The irony is we have a Virginia that is more competitive than it's been in its history … and yet we have a congressional delegation that is five seats in Republicans' favor," Quentin Kidd, professor of political science and director of the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University, told the Times-Dispatch Tuesday.
"It's a glaring indication of how partisan redistricting can distort what a state really looks like."
President Barack Obama's coattails helped former Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine defeat Republican George Allen for the seat now held by retiring Democratic Sen. Jim Webb. But because of redistricting Obama was unable to provide much assistance to Democratic House candidates in their bid to retake control of the delegation, which they briefly held from 2008 to 2010 by 6-5 margin.
The Democrats had targeted the Second District seat in Virginia Beach held by freshman Republican Scott Rigell in their bid to narrow the margin. But Rigell, an auto dealer with conservative fiscal and social views, managed to hold on over challenger Paul Hirschbiel Jr., a former business associate of Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner.
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