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Gerrymandering distorts Virginia's House makeup

Monday - 3/31/2014, 4:08am  ET

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Democrats have been dominating major elections in Virginia, but you wouldn't know it from looking at the state's congressional delegation.

Republicans hold an 8-3 advantage in the delegation, belying the recent Democratic trend in the state. President Barack Obama has carried once reliably Republican Virginia twice, both of the state's U.S. senators are Democrats, and Democrats swept the top three statewide offices in November.

University of Mary Washington political science professor Stephen Farnsworth says the Democratic ascendancy isn't reflected in Congress and the state House of Delegates because of gerrymandering. Republicans who controlled the legislature after the 2010 census redrew districts friendly to their party. Farnsworth says Republicans have proven they're better at drawing lines for safe seats than winning statewide elections.

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