How redistricting reform is launching the Virginia General Assembly into a new era
Since 2016, half of the 100 seats in the Virginia House of Delegates have turned over, bringing a wave of newcomers to an institution as old as American democracy itself. The churn will intensify this year when three dozen House members are either resigning or running for a different office.
The 2023 election cycle could bring even more dramatic change to the Virginia Senate, where key leaders from both political parties are stepping down in a retirement wave affecting at least a quarter of the upper chamber’s 40 seats. A dozen more sitting senators are currently facing primary competition, which could push the number of departures even higher after the June 20 primary elections.
The reasons for the 2023 exodus vary from legislator to legislator. For some, advanced age or illness was a decisive factor. But the dramatically different electoral maps created after voters approved a new redistricting process in 2021 have been a clear factor in the ongoing institutional shake-up, pushing many incumbents out and opening up more room for candidates to run in new districts other incumbents can’t fully claim as their own.
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