Virginia Senate Republican Leader Tommy Norment defended Monday’s GOP sneaky maneuver to subvert majority rule and gerrymander the Senate maps as nothing more than politics. And, even though he voted for the current bipartisan maps, he blamed Senate Democrats for having employed an unfair process two years ago.
Norment conceded that the sneak attack “may have been annoying, painful, and even strained some friendships,” but attacked Senate Democrats for being sanctimonious:
NORMENT: I would remind those who have been so critical of what happened yesterday: redistricting is always a combination of politics and policy and that is what was dealt with yesterday. When the original redistricting plan came through, there can be cries of how collaborative it was and how inclusive. And it was so inclusive that originally it ran me almost from the North Carolina line to the outskirts of Richmond. … and [that 2011 initial bill] was voted out, strictly on a partisan line. In other words, the will of the majority was invoked against the will of the minority, and that is the process.
But Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) vetoed that initial bill. And the amended bill he signed, establishing the current maps, passed the Senate on a 32-5 bipartisan vote with Norment’s own vote in support as well as the majority of Norment’s Republican colleagues.
Seemingly forgetting his own support for the existing maps — and the Department of Justice’s pre-clearance of those maps as acceptable under the Voting Rights Act — Norment defended the GOP re-redistricting as necessary to fix an inadequate map. “It corrects the egregious and gratuitous splits of localities which existed under those boundaries,” he explained, “Deliberately, intentionally, and with calculation, they split towns, they split precincts, and they did it for one reason.” That reason, he added, was “trying to maintain a Democratic majority for years to come.”
Watch Norment’s speech:
While Norment concluded by admitting, “I understand that yesterday was not one of the finest days in the Senate,” he admonished Democrats not to attempt to block future legislation because they had their “feelings hurt on a political move.” But should this bill become law, he will have done exactly what he attempts to scold the Democrats for.