At the same time they are redrawing state legislative boundaries this week, West Virginia lawmakers will be altering the three congressional districts. Clearly, partisan politics will play a major role in that.
Democrats dominate both houses of the Legislature. Acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is of the same party. If they can get away with changes that will harm one of the state's two Republican members of Congress (First District U.S. Rep. David McKinley of Wheeling and Second District U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito of Charleston), they will do just that.
A blatantly partisan scheme has been discussed at the Capitol. It would redraw First and Second district boundaries dramatically to place McKinley and Capito in the same region. That would automatically eliminate one of them from Congress, Democrats hope. Meanwhile, Third District U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, a Democrat, would be safeguarded by making only the alterations dictated by population shifts in his area.
A common-sense change - moving Mason County from the Second District into the Third - would bring our state into compliance with state law. It would leave all three incumbent members of Congress in much the same districts they serve now.
Clearly, the "Mason County flip" or something much like it would be appropriate. Legislators should do the right thing and adopt a redistricting plan on those lines.