There’s a heating Senate campaign in Virginia between incumbent Democrat Mark Warner and Republican Ed Gillespie, who was the primary advocate for the gerrymandering scheme that was recently struck down by a federal court for being racially biased. But he says that proves that there’s no need for more protections and safeguards:
Asked if he would support a bill to restore Voting Rights Act protections gutted by the U.S. Supreme Court last year, Gillespie argued that more protections are unnecessary because the courts are still able to strike down discriminatory laws like Virginia’s.
“We saw here just recently in Virginia that civil rights and the Voting Rights Act is being enforced. We have had our district lines overturned by the courts and it is one of the reasons why the federal court is so important,” Gillespie said, abruptly pivoting to attack Warner on a nepotism scandal.
The problem is, Gillespie was a key architect in Republicans’ gerrymandering effort that led to the Virginia maps in the first place.
Shortly after Gillespie became the chair of the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) in 2010, the group launched a major push to redistrict state legislative maps to favor Republicans, called the Redistricting Majority Project, or REDMAP. The RSLC raised more than $30 million to pack state legislatures with Republicans who would approve maps to lock in Republican seats for the next decade.
His answer is also irrelevant. The provision of the Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court invalidated were not the basis for overturning gerrymandered districts in the first place, which is why the courts continue to invalidate such district-rigging schemes even after that section of the VRA was overturned.