Will The 6th District Lose Roanoke?

Brent Finnegan -- April 17th, 2011

Virginia’s 6th Congressional District, which encompasses Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, is among the reddest Republican strongholds in the Commonwealth. If Democrats in the Virginia Senate have their way in the redistricting process, it could become even redder.

Republican Bob Goodlatte has held office in the 6th CD since he was first elected in 1993. But Senate leaders want to change the boundaries of the 9th CD, which covers most of southwestern Virginia. Republican Morgan Griffith was voted into office in the 9th during the GOP sweep last November, ousting Democratic Party Rep. Rick Boucher, who had previously held the office since 1983.

At issue is whether the Democratic-leaning city of Roanoke should remain in the 6th district, or be redrawn into the 9th. The plan drawn up by the House of Delegates keeps Roanoke in the 6th. The Senate plan moves Roanoke into the 9th, making up for the loss by including more rural areas in the 6th.

Analysts are saying the 9th is competitive but the 6th is not. Dwayne Yancy wrote on roanoke.com last Tuesday:

From a vote-counting standpoint, what the Democrats are doing here is giving up on the 6th District — which has been pretty reliably in Republican hands since 1952, with the exception of the Jim Olin interregnum in the ’80s and early ’90s. Instead, they’re banking on trying to win back the 9th — by moving the Democratic stronghold of Roanoke into that district.

Joe Fitzgerald, 1st Vice Chair of the Virginia Sixth District Democratic Committee, wrote to me in an email that “the Fifth, Sixth, and Ninth have to grow geographically and most of the places they can go are majority Republican. The question for the Sixth is always going to be just how Republican we wind up. With the state trending blue, a more Republican Sixth means a less Republican Ninth or Fifth.”

The Roanoke Times reported last Wednesday:

Republican Bob Goodlatte of Roanoke County has held the 6th District seat in Congress for 18 years. Republican Morgan Griffith of Salem won the 9th District seat last year. Both redistricting plans would keep the congressmen in separate districts.

Both Goodlatte and Griffith have said Roanoke should remain in the 6th District.

Griffith said he appreciated that Senate Democrats put Salem in the 9th District.

Under the House plan, the 6th District would extend from Roanoke County to the northern end of the Shenandoah Valley. Under the Senate plan, the district would meander from Floyd County through the Roanoke Valley and include the Alleghany Highlands and most of the Shenandoah Valley.

How would this affect Harrisonburg and Rockingham County voters? Depending on how you look at it, it might not. But if the Senate plan goes into effect, it would seem even more implausible that a Democratic challenger would be able to unseat Goodlatte.

At this point, the current Senate version seems nonviable. On Friday Gov. Bob McDonnell vetoed the state legislative redistricting plan. The Washington Post reported:

Leaders in the Senate and the Republican-controlled House wanted their bills signed into law — and in the Senate, legislators refused to pass a congressional map until they saw how he acted on state legislative maps first.

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33 Responses to “Will The 6th District Lose Roanoke?”

  1. Ross says:

    NEED INPUT: County Dems Name Chairman. Gene Hart stepped down as chairman and Michael Ritchie will fill in until January. (story in today’s DN-R)
    Let’s urge Mr. Ritchie to get Democratic Candidates for our local elections. We need representation at the polls. To lay low on ANY election is just inexcusable. The Voters want a Choice and deserve to have one.

  2. Lowell Fulk says:

    I do believe this is his plan, Ross. Gonna participate?

    • Ross says:

      I already am.

    • Ross says:

      Lowell, glad to see you are participating! You have put yourself out there and I hope the voters respond favorably. It would be great to see other local Democrats join you in November. My contribution is best left behind the scenes. Trust me, I have been active. I feel that I have had some affect already,

      Thank you for running, Lowell. I sincerely hope you win!

  3. Ross says:

    Have you heard any names being thrown out yet?

  4. Ross says:

    Lowell, Where you been lately? Usually you have a lot to say. What’s up?

  5. Lowell Fulk says:

    I think I perhaps say too much. I’d like to hear what others, such as you, have to say Ross. I’m old and stale, you’re fresh and new. Please take the ball and run with it.

    • Ross says:

      Lowell, you act as if you saw the Devil blink…

      • Lowell Fulk says:

        I don’t understand your reference, Ross. I’ve been extremely busy the past while, and not so much involved with the aspect of party politics you’re wishing to discuss. Life changes my friend…

        • Dr Frank R. Southerington says:

          The Democrats are NEVER going to win the sixth District if they won’t even field a candidate to challenge the spineless party hack Goodlatte. I object to the principle that says the party may sign away my right to representation of my choice, and to a party which is so spineless and irresponsible that it will not even OFFER me a choice. Republicans are bouind to win against lethargy.

  6. Ross says:

    Someone mentioned to me that C M Hess should seek the Democratic nomination/backing for the Sheriffs race. I thought that was a fresh idea ….. what do you think, Lowell? Or course I have heard 2 other names thrown around for the Democratic nominations – for both races.
    Since you are in the “loop” I’m sure you have heard the same thing.

    Things are slowly percolating for this fall’s election.

    Thanks for caring Lowell. It takes all of us.

    • Lowell Fulk says:

      To my knowledge, Major Hess is seeking support from across the political spectrum in Rockingham County and the City of Harrisonburg for what should really be a non partisan position of leadership.

      I like his independence and his sense of loyalty to the integrity of the idea that law enforcement’s leader should be representative of everyone.

      As he says: He is not seeking a position to legislate and create laws, he is seeking to enforce the law, period. Well stated in my mind, and precisely what I look for in the position of Sheriff of the people.

      Mr. Hess’s independent mind and dedication to his job has earned him support from strong Republicans and strong Democrats alike. He has stated that he will not seek a party’s endorsement, and for so doing he has earned my respect.

      We now are presented with two candidates who wish to be elected as a partisan Sheriff, and just one candidate who simply works to be elected as Sheriff for the entire community.

      I believe our community has enjoyed a great benefit of fairness from our current independently elected Sheriff Farley, and I will vote to continue a very healthy precedent of electing the most capable and qualified individual for the job in question, regardless of party affiliation…

      The choice for me is clear. Vote for the individual who will do the best job based on proven performance in the position which he seeks…

      • Ross says:

        Lets, play what if. Lets say the Democrats get a candidate for the Sheriffs race. Do you vote party line – or – vote for who you feel is best for the job?

        I’d like to see how strong party affiliations are in this area, so this question is for everyone.

      • eso says:

        I thought the Sheriff was a Rockingham county position, why is the city voting? Will they require a pledge to vote for Republican candidate to be able to vote in the primary?

        • Lowell Fulk says:

          I’ve been told that they are not going to require a pledge to participate Eso, but I can’t say for sure. And the Sheriff is elected by both County and City Voters as is the Commonwealth’s Attorney and Clerk of Circuit Court.

          • Eso says:

            Ok. I didn’t know that. I had thought since the city didn’t pay taxes to the county, they wouldn’t get a vote.

        • David Miller says:

          The city of Harrisonburg is in Rockingham County, same as we vote for president of The United States of America even though (or perhaps because) we are VA residents

        • Joe says:

          The Sheriff is both of Rockingham and Harrisonburg. The Sheriff is responible for housing inmates that come from the city, county, and all the towns.

  7. Lowell Fulk says:

    Looks like no one wants to play your game, Ross. Perhaps because it’s not a game… Good governance isn’t a game.

  8. Ross says:

    Mike Meredeth, a past Republican leader, boast about his past credentials in a “Letter To The Editor” today, endorsing Kurt Bo shart for Sheriff. The only problem is he doesn’t even know who our County Treasurer is, Mike thinks Lowell Barb is Treasurer however, it is actually Todd Garber. Do you know what position Barb holds?… One heck of an endorsement I’d say!

    • Emmy says:

      Yeah sorry Ross, but you have them switched. Garber is the Treasurer.

      • Ross says:

        Did you read my post correctly? I clearly stated Todd Garber is Treasurer. I only pointed out that A past, involved Chairman, of the local Republican Party can’t remember who is – what – in his own party. Now, is that someone you would want to back you in an election? After all, how long has Todd Garber been Treasurer?

        • Emmy says:

          My bad, I read it incorrectly. No, I wouldn’t want him to back me…but that doesn’t change Kurt’s ability to be Sheriff. He still has my vote.

          • Ross says:

            Pardon my asking, Emmy, what are his abilities to be Sheriff? What experience does he have to make him best suited for this position that the other candidates don’t have? Why does he have your vote?

          • Lowell Fulk says:

            I’m with Ross here. I’d like to hear folks who support Lt. Boshart give their reasons, and I’d like to hear those who support Hutcheson for the nomination give their reasons. Why does Lt. Boshart have your support Emmy? Not arguing at all, he has always been very nice to me and both seem like very nice fellows, but I’d greatly appreciate thoughts on the matter.

          • Ross says:

            This is the last hurrah! If you have a reason that made you decide to vote for Boshart over Hutchenson – or – Hutchenson over Boshart, now’s the time to tell.

        • David Miller says:

          I can tell you that I’ve been on boards with Kurt and had his help with various downtown issues. I’ve been nothing but happy with his service. I’ve never met Hutcheson but I’m sure he’d be good too but I’ll be voting Boshart.

          • Ross says:

            Any predictions? There was a decent amount of voters when I voted. I was surprised.

            I won’t say who I decided on, but your input was most helpful.

  9. seth says:

    mr. barb is the commissioner of revenue.

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