GOP leader cancels redistricting floor session

Speaker of the House of Delegates, Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, stands in the chamber. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)
Speaker of the House of Delegates, Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, stands in the chamber. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, canceled a floor session scheduled for Oct. 21 and 22 after Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, announced plans to veto a Republican-drafted map to fix 11 House districts a court has ruled were racially gerrymandered.

Cox filed a status report with the Eastern District Court “noting the governor’s intent to veto any legislative efforts at bipartisan collaboration,” his office said in a statement.

“I am rescinding my call for the House of Delegates to reconvene because I do not think we should waste legislators’ time or taxpayer money on a session when the governor’s mind is evidently made up,” Cox said. “There was clear progress being made toward a bipartisan legislative solution, and while we wish those efforts could continue it’s obvious that both the governor and the Democratic leadership would rather have federal judges draw the map than allow the legislature to fulfill its constitutional responsibility.”

Northam has called for letting the court handle the maps and a constitutional amendment to create a nonpartisan redistricting commission.

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Robert Zullo
Robert has been winning and losing awards as a reporter and editor for 13 years at weekly and daily newspapers, beginning at Worrall Community Newspapers in Union, N.J., where he was a staff writer and managing editor. He spent five years in south Louisiana covering hurricanes, oil spills and Good Friday crawfish boils as a reporter and city editor for the The Courier and the Daily Comet newspapers in Houma and Thibodaux. He covered Richmond city hall for the Richmond Times-Dispatch from 2012 to 2013 and worked as a general assignment and city hall reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from 2013 to 2016. He returned to Richmond in 2016 to cover energy, environment and transportation for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He grew up in Miami, Fla., and central New Jersey. A former waiter, armored car guard and appliance deliveryman, he is a graduate of the College of William and Mary.