State Sen. Creigh Deeds, a Democrat from Bath County, said Wednesday that he is planning to move to Charlottesville after recently being paired in the same Senate district with Sens. Emmett Hanger, R-Augusta County, and Mark Obenshain, R-Rockingham County. “I’ll move as soon as I find a place to live,” Deeds said in a phone interview.
Deeds has represented the 25th Senate district since 2001. Until it was redrawn by two special masters – one Democrat and one Republican – and approved by the Virginia Supreme Court last month, the 25th included the city of Charlottesville, much of surrounding Albemarle County, and stretching to include all of Alleghany, Highland, Nelson, Rockbridge counties and the cities of Buena Vista, Covington and Lexington. It also included Bath County, where Deeds currently resides.
In 2023, Deeds plans to run in the newly created 11th Senate district, which includes all of Charlottesville, ending at the city limits of Waynesboro to the west, stretching all the way to the outskirts of Buena Vista, and ending just outside of Lynchburg to the south. The special masters intentionally drew the maps without regard for where incumbents lived, resulting in some districts that include more than one incumbent, and some don’t include any. Instead, they focused on the “grouping together of like communities into the districts with similar population sizes,” according to a memo they sent to the Virginia Supreme Court last week.
For Deeds, his move to Charlottesville makes sense as he would be following his voters. “About 63 percent of my constituents live in Charlottesville and Albemarle,” he said of the old maps. The new 11th district currently has no incumbent.
Deeds’ plan to relocate to a new district leaves two Republicans – Obenshain and Hanger – in his old district. This means one of them will have to move as well, retire or they will go head-to-head to represent Harrisonburg and the counties of Rockingham, Page, Highland, Bath and three-quarters of Augusta County in the upper-house of the General Assembly come 2023.