Prince William split into two Congressional districts as final maps approved

Under final maps approved Tuesday by the Virginia Supreme Court, Prince William County will be split between the 7th Congressional District (gray) and the 10th District (orange). Most of Fairfax County will be in the 11th District (green), while the 8th District (blue) will continue to be centered in Arlington County and Alexandria. (Courtesy Virginia Redistricting Commission)

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner InsideNoVa.com and republished with permission. Sign up for InsideNoVa.com’s free email subscription today.

Prince William County will be split between two Congressional districts starting with the 2022 election.

The Virginia Supreme Court approved final maps for Congressional and General Assembly districts on Tuesday.

The court took over the redistricting, required after the 2020 Census, because the state’s redistricting commission could not reach agreement on new maps.

Prince William will lose one representative each in the Virginia House of Delegates and state Senate, but the new districts will primarily focus on Prince William, whereas many of the current districts are shared with neighboring localities.

An initial map proposed by the Supreme Court placed all of Prince William, along with the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park in a new 7th Congresssional District, which also included Stafford County and the city of Fredericksburg. However, after two public hearings, the court split Prince William practically down the middle between the 7th and 10th districts.

Prince William County is currently split among the 1st, 10th and 11th districts.

The new 7th District, which currently encompasses a swath of central Virginia west of Richmond, would shift northeast and encompass eastern Prince William, Fredericksburg and all of King George, Stafford, Spotsylvania, Carolina, Culpeper, Orange, Greene and Madison counties.  In Prince William, areas generally east of Hoadly Road and Independent Hill would be in the 7th District.

The seat is currently held by Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger, who lives in Henrico County, just outside Richmond.  However, congressional representatives are not required to live in their district, and Spanberger indicated earlier this month she plans to run for re-election in the district.

Del. Elizabeth Guzman, D-31st, Prince William School Board Chair Babur Lateef and former Dels. Jennifer Carroll Foy and Hala Ayala, both of Prince William, have been mentioned as potential Democratic candidates in the 7th District, although at a glance the initial proposed map for the 7th appeared to be more Democratic than the final approved map.

Republican State Sen. Amanda Chase of Chesterfield County had previously announced a campaign in the 7th District. Reports indicated she was waiting for the maps to be finalized before deciding whether she would stay in that campaign.

The current 10th District covers all of Clarke, Frederick and Loudoun counties, parts of Fairfax and Prince William counties and the cities of Manassas, Manassas Park and Winchester. The new 10th District would cover central and western Prince William, a small portion of southwestern Fairfax County, Manassas, Manassas Park and all of Loudoun, Fauquier and Rappahannock counties.

Manassas City Council member Theresa Coates Ellis and Brentsville Supervisor Jeanine Lawson have already announced plans to run as Republicans in the 10th District, which is held by Democrat Jennifer Wexton, who lives in Loudoun.

Elsewhere in Northern Virginia, the 11th District, represented by Democrat Gerry Connolly, is compressed to consist solely of portions of Fairfax County, while the 8th District, represented by Democrat Don Beyer, will include Arlington County, the city of Alexandria, the Mount Vernon and Fort Belvoir areas of Fairfax, as well as most of the area of Fairfax inside the Beltway, including McLean and Falls Church.

The order says the districts will be effective with the 2022 election for the U.S. House of Representatives. The General Assembly seats would be effective with primary and general elections for the 2023 election.

A lawsuit seeking to force a 2022 special election for General Assembly seats using the new districts is being considered in state courts. However, a ruling has not been issued.

The new maps take Prince William County from eight delegate districts and four Senate seats to seven delegates and three senators. However, those seats would be more centered on Prince William County than the existing seats.

The House seats would more closely mirror the districts on the Board of County Supervisors, with Manassas and adjacent areas contained in one district. The Senate districts would cover the western, southeastern and northeastern parts of the county.

Read the full order and see all the maps here. 

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