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Five Takeaways From Virginia's Congressional Map Changes 

Losers could be Republicans Forbes and Brats, Democrats could gain a seat.

click to enlarge Dave Brat

Scott Elmquist

Dave Brat

A federal panel has scrambled congressional district lines in ways that would have big impacts for Richmond-area voters.

The panel was assembled to redraw lines in the 3rd District after a court ruling last year that the district was gerrymandered to pack in black voters in ways that give white candidates advantages in adjacent districts. The district is held by a Democrat, U.S. Rep. Robert C. Scott.

The blog Bearing Drift offers this map of the changes, if the new plan survives court challenges. The Washington Post digs into the issue.

Here are some winners and losers with the plan:

1. Loser: U.S. Rep. J. Randy Forbes, a Republican who represents the 4th District. Under the new plans, Richmond will move into the 4th District. This means that Forbes, who is white, must attract more black voters who tend to vote Democratic.

2. Loser: U.S. Rep Dave Brat, a Republican. The 7th District congressman was elected in a stunning primary upset with tea party help against Eric Cantor in June 2014. But the redistricting takes away from him Ashland and Hanover County, his strongest conservative base. This would give an advantage to Henrico County Sheriff Mike Wade, a more moderate conservative, if he challenges Brat.

3. Winners: State Sen. A. Donald McEachin and Delegate Jennifer L. McClellan, both Democrats. This could be their time to challenge Forbes, vying for Congress in the 4th District.

4. Winner: Scott. His current 3rd District would be sliced back to Hampton Roads, a safe base.

5. Winners: Democrats. At the moment, Virginia is represented in Congress by eight Republicans and three Democrats. The Democrats could gain an extra seat in the 4th District.

Editor's note: A correction was made to a previous version that said half of Richmond would move into the 4th District.

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