Southwest Virginia stands to lose legislative districts following population decline

Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 7:29 PM EDT
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - Redistricting will bring new lines to Virginia’s legislative and congressional districts. It could also mean a loss of influence for the southwestern corner of the Commonwealth.

The release of census data Thursday showed a population decline in southwestern Virginia, and major growth in other parts of the state. And that means the region stands to lose legislative districts in the House of Delegates and the State Senate.

Charles “Chaz” Nuttycombe is a sophomore at Virginia Tech, but he’s been a student of politics since high school.

And as the director of Virginia-based forecasting group CNalysis, he has shown a knack for predicting election results.

“In 2019, I got 99 out of 100 for the House of Delegates,” Nuttycombe told WDBJ7 Monday morning, “so, yeah, that’s my specialty, state legislative elections.”

Members of Virginia’s new redistricting commission are still finalizing their work plan. But after the release of census data, Nuttycombe has been crunching the numbers himself.

And he has already produced his own map that shows the 9th Congressional District expanding to the east.

“I think the best way to do that is to put Bedford County and Franklin County, uniting the Smith Mountain Lake community and putting it into the 9th,” Nuttycombe said.

We’ll have to see if the commission agrees with that, but Nuttycombe says the population shift will bring changes in the General Assembly as well.

“When it comes to the state legislative stuff, there’s going to be a district that moves from southwest Virginia in the State Senate,” Nuttycombe said. “It’s going to be moving to somewhere in NoVa, Prince William I would say, and there’s going to be a district in the House of Delegates that’s going to have to move.”

We can expect to see the first maps from the Virginia Redistricting Commission sometime in September.

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