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Sun Gazette: Hope Still Planning to Wait for Redistricting Before Announcing Plans Print
By SCOTT McCAFFREY, Staff Writer
Created: Thursday, March 24, 2011 8:16 AM


Del. Patrick Hope on March 23 reaffirmed his plan to wait until legislative redistricting is complete before announcing whether he will seek re-election or instead vie for the 31st state Senate seat currently held by the retiring Mary Margaret Whipple.

Hope (D-47th) said it would be premature to make any decision about his political future without knowing what district boundaries will look like.

The two houses of the General Assembly are slated to send their redistricting plans to Gov. McDonnell in April. The governor can accept them or amend them, sending them back for further action.

The shape of the 31st Senate District could change significantly following redistricting. The district currently includes most of Arlington north of Columbia Pike, along with the city of Falls Church. The redrawn 31st could lose Falls Church and parts of upper North Arlington to the 34th District, and pick up chunks of McLean. Like all the other Senate districts, it will have to include about 200,000 residents.

Senate Democrats have taken the lead in redrawing the 40 districts of their chamber, so the shape of the new 31st could largely rest on decisions made by Whipple.

County Board member Barbara Favola already has launched a campaign for Whipple’s seat. Most other Arlington Democrats mentioned as potential candidates have opted not to run, while others are waiting for Hope’s verdict before making their own decisions.