Legislature Favoring a North-South Congressional Redraw As Redistricting Efforts Continue
The West Virginia Senate Redistricting Committee advanced a proposal to the full Senate on Monday that would divide the state’s new congressional boundaries in a north-south configuration.
If approved by the full Senate and House, a newly drawn Congressional District 1 would include the northern and eastern panhandle areas of the state. A proposed District 2 would encompass the southern half of the state — including Jackson, Wirt, Ritchie, Gilmer, Braxton, Webster and Pocahontas counties and all counties south of them.
Population in this configuration would be nearly equally divided.
Under that map, if current incumbents choose to run again for Congress, U.S. Rep. David McKinley of Wheeling, a Republican who has represented state’s first congressional district since 2011, would be pitted against U.S. Rep. Alex Mooney, of Charles Town, a Republican who has represented the 2nd congressional district since 2015. It would also leave untouched the third district seat held by U.S. Rep. Carol Miller, a Republican who has served since 2019. But it could also open the doors on possible challengers for her seat from Huntington and Charleston.
West Virginia must redraw its congressional districts after the once-a-decade Census found significant population loss, limiting the state’s representation in the House from three to two members.
The House Committee on Redistricting also advanced for full legislative consideration a new map of 100 single-member districts across the state. It is moving from 67-single and multi-member districts. The committee made seven changes to House Bill 301 Monday for reasons including adjusting lines to assist the county clerk of Putnam County and keep communities together in Randolph County. Once those adjustments were made, the bill passed out of committee to the House floor. It passed first reading in the House and then the body adjourned until Tuesday for second reading. The Senate will reconvene Tuesday at 11 a.m.
The legislature continues its redistricting work this week in Charleston after a special session was called Friday by Gov. Jim Justice. Among other action items set for the session were consideration of appropriation of federal money to the state and changes to the Intermediate Courts passed earlier this year during the regular legislative session.
The votes in the legislature this week come after more than a dozen public hearings on redistricting were held statewide.