Arlington’s reconfigured districts in the House of Delegates will be as easy to remember as 1-2-3.
Those are the new numbers of three districts (down from the present four) that will include portions of Arlington in the lower house of the legislature, per the redistricting map approved Dec. 28 by the Virginia General Assembly.
The redrawn boundaries appear to be good news for incumbents Patrick Hope and Alfonso Lopez, and the third district could lead to a free-for-all among any number of political aspirants:
• The new House District 1 includes western portions of Arlington, seemingly tailor-made for Hope (who currently represents the 47th District) to continue his occupancy of the seat.
• House District 2 includes eastern portions of the county, including Rosslyn and Crystal City. No incumbent currently lives there, which could set up an interesting battle among Democrats for the seat.
• House District 3 is split between southern Arlington (80 percent of the district’s population) and portions of Alexandria (19.8 percent), which should play well for incumbent Alfonso Lopez. Lopez’s current 49th District is centered on the Columbia Pike corridor of South Arlington, but unlike the new district also includes adjacent areas of Fairfax County.
Del. Rip Sullivan, who currently occupies the 48th District split between Arlington and McLean, will see his new district move out of Arlington entirely. That, theoretically, could set up an intra-McLean showdown with fellow Democratic Del. Kathleen Murphy, but there have been whispers that Murphy may be wrapping up her service in Richmond and not stand for re-election.
And incoming Del. Elizabeth Bennett-Parker, whose previous 45th District included some precincts in far South Arlington, will see her district moved out of Arlington, as well.
When the voters will next cast ballots in the 100 statewide House of Delegates races will depend on whether courts rule that elections in the new districts, which should have been in place for the 2021 elections, will need to take place this November, or can wait until the next scheduled election in November 2023.
The decision could have major ramifications, as Republicans this past November won back control of the House of Delegates, picking up a net seven seats to hold a two-seat majority.