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Moran, Deeds Question McDonnell on Redistricting

Rosalind Helderman

Well, that didn't take long.

Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds are already scoffing at Bob McDonnell's endorsement today of some kind of bipartisan commission on legislative redistricting. They both note that McDonnell has a long history of opposition to the idea when it's been advanced by Democrats in the state legislature.

Not that McDonnell said anything else in his conference call with reporters this afternoon. He was noted his past opposition but said he had come to believe the parties should work together to redraw legislative lines.

McDonnell said he'd had "a number of reservations" over the years but had come to believe bipartisan commissions have had a measure of success in other states in drawing lines that are compact and contiguous, as demanded by law.

Deeds' camp said the shift was McDonnell's "latest election year pander," noting that Deeds has sponsored legislation on to create a bipartisan commission for the last seven years, never with McDonnell's support. Moran spokesman Jesse Ferguson called it "part of the continuing narrative of the remaking of Bob McDonnell," noting that Moran sponsored a bill in 2004 to launch a study of the benefits of a bipartisan commission. The bill got rolled into one sponsored by Del. Ken Plum and sent to the House Rules Committee--where Bob McDonnell voted to table it.

The back story here, of course, is that Democrats took up the ball on bipartisan redistricting when they were in the minority. Republicans were opposed at a time when they had huge legislative majorities--control of the redistricting process was thought to help ensure they would keep them. As the state has purpled, more Republicans have warmed to the idea. Though a bit arcane, voters tend to favor bipartisan commissions over political haggling.

This is an early piece of a story line we'll see throughout the summer, as McDonnell seeks moderate popular policy positions and Democrats accuse him of running a campaign of reinvention.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 21, 2009; 5:19 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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