CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — “Outside the Capitol, it is a beautiful day. Inside the Capitol, the ugliest type of sausage making with redistricting,” tweeted Del. Joey Garcia (D-Marion) Tuesday.
On Wednesday, as the West Virginia House of Delegates passed its final redistricting map, this sentiment was hit or miss depending on who you spoke with.
The new district map is historic because for the first time it has 100 single-member districts, a change from the current 67 districts; with one delegate for roughly every 17,000 people.
The Republican-led House of Delegates says this will give greater representation to West Virginians.
“Yes, it’s historic, no it’s not fair,” said Del. John Doyle (R-Jefferson).
“We could’ve done a much better job of keeping communities together, staying closer to county lines, and keeping incumbents from running against each other,” he said.
If approved by the state Senate, which is still working on their own senate district map, the new house district map will be used for the next 10 years.
“Anytime there’s a political process that happens people are going to be accused of being partisan but I think that this was viewed through a lens of trying to create 100 single-member districts and I think we did a pretty good job,” said Del. Moore Capito (R-Kanawha).
Still, Doyle says his hometown of Shepherdstown in Jefferson was divided into two separate delegate districts.
“We the Democrats offered an alternative which had a 100 single-member district plan, and each one of those districts was no more than one% in variance from the optimal number,” he said.
Capito says they tried to keep communities as whole as possible.
“We know with the population being dispersed out and some is more urban and some is more rural, that it’s almost impossible to keep counties completely whole,” he said.
Lawmakers continue to work on the new congressional district map which will go down from three to two this year.