5th District Goes North

Published 4:52 pm Thursday, February 2, 2012

FARMVILLE – The General Assembly has approved a congressional redistricting plan that extends the Fifth District farther north than the Washington Monument.

The district's southern boundary begins at the Virginia-North Carolina border.

The U.S. Capitol and its House of Representatives chamber will be south of the Fifth District's northernmost border-if the plan is not blocked by legal action.

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On Tuesday the Supreme Court of Virginia allowed the suit challenging the General Assembly's congressional redistricting to move forward.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issued a statement this week promising to fight for the plan and urging state legislators to move primaries into August to provide adequate time in case the court challenge jeopardizes June elections.

Fifth District Congressman Robert Hurt envisions no difficulties in representing the new district.

“It is an honor to serve the people of Central and Southside Virginia and the congressional district that belongs to them. The map signed into law by the Governor has expanded the 5th District from 22 to 24 cities and counties,” the Republican congressman said in an email response to The Herald on Wednesday afternoon.

The new district lines add three northern counties-Madison, Rappahannock, and Fauquier.

“While I look forward to getting to know the citizens of the newly-drawn district, I remain committed to representing the interests of the people of Central and Southside Virginia,” the Chatham congressman said.

Cuccinelli remains committed to fighting to preserve the redistricting plan adopted by the General Assembly.

“The elected representatives of the citizens of Virginia have passed a redistricting plan through the legislative process,” Cuccinelli said in a press statement released by his office on Tuesday, “and we will continue to seek to protect the result of that process.”

The attorney general also noted his request that the General Assembly seize a vital moment without delay and pass legislation containing an emergency clause to move congressional primaries to August. “If this is not done congressional primaries currently scheduled for June may be disrupted if the new district lines are not approved by the federal government within the short timeframe remaining,” Cuccinelli said.

On Tuesday, the Virginia Supreme Court denied a writ of prohibition and declined to grant an immediate appeal of a Circuit Court of the City of Richmond decision that refused to dismiss a challenge to the authority of the General Assembly to draw new congressional district lines, the attorney general's office explained.

“In its order, the Supreme Court said the circuit court's ruling was not sufficiently definitive to permit immediate review. The Supreme Court also explicitly declined to reach the merits of the underlying case at this time,” the press release stated.

Attorney General Cuccinelli promised that his office would do “everything within its control to obtain an immediate, definitive, reviewable order from the circuit court.”

Rep. Hurt, meanwhile, believes the redistricting plan is worth preserving.

“I appreciate the General Assembly's hard work on coming to a bipartisan-supported agreement to ensure that the new congressional districts were drawn in a way to allow all Virginians equal representation,” he told The Herald.