RICHMOND, Va. —
A day after Virginia Senate Republicans staged a surprise reapportionment of all 40 Senate districts, it was met by ominous warnings from Democrats and nervous dismay by the state’s Republican governor and House Republicans.
On a party-line power play Monday, the Senate’s 20 Republicans struck with one of the 20 Senate Democrats absent and abruptly amended a House bill that previously made minor technical adjustments to House districts.
Sen. John Watkins’ amendment — never vetted by a committee — adds a sixth majority-black district but substantially strengthens the number of GOP districts.
Republican Del. John Cosgrove voiced misgivings about the amendment. Gov. Bob McDonnell also criticized it but stopped short of saying he’d veto it. McDonnell fears a partisan meltdown in the evenly divided Senate would doom his transportation reforms.