One day after the Virginia Supreme Court approved new legislative maps for Virginia, Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, announced that he would seek reelection in the 9th congressional district, despite being drawn into the 6th district, which is currently represented by Rep. Ben Cline, R-Fincastle.
“I have called Southwest Virginia home my entire life, and I have worked tirelessly for the communities I represent,” Griffith said in a statement released Wednesday. “Despite the tremendous size of the 9th congressional district, I have been amazed by the overwhelming support I have received as I travel throughout the region.”
Under the new maps, which are effective immediately, Griffith’s hometown Salem is now part of the 6th District. Because members of Congress are not required to live in the district they represent, Griffith can once again run in the 9th, which now once includes Craig County in return for moving some Roanoke County precincts into the 6th. Griffith’s bid avoids challenging Cline over the Republican nomination in that district.
Cline also announced that he would run again. “I will run for reelection in Virginia’s redrawn 6th congressional district, which includes my hometown of Lexington and our current home in Fincastle,” he said in a statement.
Cline added that “change brings new opportunities,” and that he looked forward to introducing himself to the new voters added to the 6th district, including the counties of Frederick, Clarke, and Alleghany, and the cities of Winchester, Covington, and Salem. “However, I am disappointed I will no longer have the privilege of representing so many friends and neighbors in Amherst and Bedford counties and the city of Lynchburg,” he said.
The Supreme Court took over the task of creating new maps because the newly formed Virginia Redistricting Commission in October ran out the clock after hitting a partisan stalemate. The 16-member panel – which included eight Democrats and eight Republicans – had failed to agree on one final set of maps for the state’s legislative chambers and congressional seats to present to the public.
The Supreme Court then appointed two map drawers – Bernard Grofman, a Democrat, and Sean Trende, a Republican. Both stated in a memo filed with the court earlier this month that the three maps they recreated for Virginia reflect “a true joint effort” between the two. “We agreed on almost all issues initially, and the few issues on which we initially disagreed were resolved by amicable discussion,” they said.
Leaving Salem – and Griffith, who resides there – in the same district as Cline was almost inevitable, as the map drawers said they wanted to avoid crossing the Blue Ridge.