BREAKING: While Dems Distracted by Inauguration, Virginia Senate GOP Stages a Coup

Monday, January 21, 2013

You don't get more slimy, sneaky, underhanded, etc. than this (great work by Ben Tribbett alerting us to what was going on in the following series of Facebook updates):"Wow- Republicans in the Virginia Senate are now trying to redraw the maps and draw at least one Democratic Senator out of the Senate. Happening right now on the floor."
"COUP GOING ON IN VIRGINIA SENATE: Republicans have just brought all new Senate districts to the floor with Henry Marsh gone in DC, now 30 minutes of debate before they send them to the House of Delegates."
"The Republican redistricting bill creates a 6th majority-minority seat."
After Ben's first Facebook notice, I went to the live feed of the Virginia State Senate and watched as Sen. Saslaw, Sen. McEachin ("This is sneaky, this is underhanded, and it's beneath the dignity of the Senate"), Sen. Marsden and Sen. Barker went ape**** on the Republicans for what they said was a totally underhanded, unconstitutional move that will utterly poison relations in the Virginia State Senate. The fact that Republicans pulled this underhanded maneuver while most people were focused on the inauguration and Democratic State Senator Marsh was out of town (for the inauguration) really says it all. Wow.
P.S. Bizarrely, right after the coup, Sen. Deeds inexplicably started rambling on about a Confederate general (Stonewell Jackson) and how he loved "peaches," "lemons," and "women." WTF?
P.P.S. I'm hoping to get video of this as soon as possible, as you've got to see it to believe it. Also, this should be a big, national story. Wow.
UPDATE: Sen. Ebbin tweets, "VA Senate GOP trying to redistrict w/ substitute bill with no notice in violation of our state Constitution" and "VA Senate GOP votes to redistrict in violation of state Constitution."
UPDATE #2: One of the sharpest Virginia political analysts I know, KentonNgo, tweets: "If VA Republicans were smart enough not to touch the already cleared VRA districts, the plan will likely stand. Dems are toast." Ugh.
UPDATE #3Here are the votes as Senate Republicans rammed this one through on 20-19, party-line votes with longtime civil rights champion, Democratic State Senator Henry Marsh, at the inauguration in Washington, DC.
UPDATE #4 (5:10 pm): It will be interesting to see how long it takes the corporate media to get on top of this story. So far, I see the Richmond Times Dispatch has a story (posted at 4:37 pm), but that's about it. We were up with this story at 4:19 pm, after Ben Tribbett posted about it on Facebook and alerted us to it a few minutes before that. Actually, I just saw thatBob Lewis and Larry O'Dell of the AP are out with a story as of 4:57 pm. ThinkProgress is also on it as of 5:10 pm.
UPDATE #5Not Larry Sabato has "some initial info on the new districts." ("Creigh Deeds, the current 25th Senator is put into the 24th Senate district with Emmett Hanger, a district that now includes all of Augusta,and Bath counties along with Charlottesville and other pieces.")
UPDATE #6NLS has the new districts.
UPDATE #7Chelyen Davis tweets, "@lgbillbolling spokeswoman says Bolling wouldn't have voted for redistricting, "has grave concerns... it's not something he supported." Verrry interesting, he can't be pleased about this (makes it more likely he'll run as an indy?).
UPDATE #8Jeff Schapiro tweets, "Even @BobMcDonnell is steamed over surprise re-redist maneuver by fellow R's in #Va Senate; worried it threatens his agenda." Nice.