Whipple Tells News-Press, Despite Posturing, Deal is Done for Redistricting This Week

On the eve of her return to Richmond Monday for her final state legislative session, Virginia State Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple confirmed in comments exclusive to the News-Press Sunday night that although there may be political posturing and tinkering, the “deal has been done” for the state legislative redistricting this week, and any efforts by Gov. Bob McDonnell intended to alter the plans drawn up by the majority Democrats in the Senate and majority Republicans in the House will go nowhere. The already-completed plans call for State Del. Jim Scott to remain as the delegate representing the City of Falls Church, and Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw to become the City’s new representative in the state senate. The plans will be formally introduced in legislative special sessions Monday in the form of bills, although the plans themselves were unveiled the middle of last week.

Whipple was present at Sunday night’s annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner of the Falls Church City Democratic Committee, a potluck event held in the Community Center that drew a large contingent of leading Democratic partisans in the City to hear Former Democratic National Chair Terry McAuliffe as the keynote speaker. Also present at tonight’s event were Saslaw, showing up in Falls Church for the first time in anticipation of his new role, and Scott. Whipple, when hailed by McAuliffe during his remarks, received a standing ovation from the audience, as she has announced that she will not seek reelection in the fall. She also received a bouquet of flowers from the host FCCDC, and promises of more opportunities to recognize and celebrate her career yet to come.

Whipple noted that the redistricting plans for the U.S. Congress will come before the special legislative session a week from tomorrow, and that Virginia’s 11 congressmen have already hammered that out, too. That includes retaining Rep. Jim Moran as the congressman representing the City of Falls Church. He will cede parts of Reston and Rep. Jerry Connolly will pick up additional pro-Democratic precincts in the Lake Barcroft area.

In addition to McAuliffe, who is expected to run again for governor in 2013 but has not yet announced, Democratic State Chair Brian Moran addressed the audience, and he said “I expect to hear any day now” about an announcement from former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine about his intentions regarding a run for the U.S. Senate to fill the seat that will be vacated by the retirement of U.S. Sen. Jim Webb in 2012.

As for this week’s “veto session” activity in Richmond, Whipple told the News-Press that most of the vetoes coming from the governor are on matters he was overwhelmingly defeated on by the legislature during the past session.