Rep. Randy Forbes switching to new district in Virginia

Rep. Randy ForbesJames (Randy) Randy ForbesDaschle Group hires first GOP lobbyist Overnight Defense: US sanctions NATO ally Turkey over Russian defense system | Veterans groups, top Democrats call for Wilkie's resignation | Gingrich, other Trump loyalists named to Pentagon board Gingrich, other Trump loyalists named to Pentagon advisory panel MORE (R-Va.) is switching to a new Virginia district this year, boosting his odds of reelection following redrawn boundaries in his state.

Forbes announced Monday that he’ll run in Virginia’s 2nd district, which will have an open race this year thanks to the retirement of fellow Republican Rep. Scott RigellScott RigellSpanberger's GOP challenger raises over .8 million in third quarter Ex-Rep. Scott Taylor to seek old Virginia seat GOP rushes to embrace Trump MORE.

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Virginia’s 2nd district is easier terrain for a Republican to win this year compared to the neighboring 4th district that Forbes now represents. 

A Virginia district court concluded last year that the Republican-controlled state legislature’s 2012 redistricting plan unconstitutionally packed black voters into the Richmond-area 3rd district held by Rep. Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottDemocrats hit crunch time for passing Biden agenda Biden celebrates anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act Now is the time to end the subminimum wage for people with disabilities MORE (D-Va.) as a way of making the other districts more favorable to Republicans. 

The Supreme Court agreed last November to revisit the case and hear an appeal from the Republican members of the Virginia congressional delegation, with arguments scheduled for March 21.

The new congressional map drawn after the Virginia court’s ruling shifts black voters from the 3rd district into the 4th district currently represented by Forbes, making it easier terrain for a Democratic challenger. 

Forbes’s decision to switch districts is an acknowledgment that he’d face a tougher path to reelection if he stayed put.

Part of his pitch for switching districts is that he’d be able to keep his spot on the House Armed Services Committee as chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces subcommittee, which oversees the Navy and Marine Corps programs.

Rigell endorsed Forbes’s candidacy during the Facebook video announcement on Monday, arguing that Forbes’s position on the House Armed Services Committee would be beneficial for the district, which includes the world’s largest naval base in Norfolk.

“As chairman on the seapower subcommittee on House Armed Services, I truly believe he’s one of the ten most influential people in Washington on the direction that our Marine Corps and our Navy go,” Rigell said.

But not all Republicans are on board with Forbes leapfrogging into another district. State Del. Scott Taylor, who is also running for the Republican nomination in the 2nd district, paid for thousands of robocalls urging voters to discourage Forbes from switching districts, according to The Virginian-Pilot

Forbes, who has served in the House since 2001, is also the founder and co-chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus.

He ran in 2014 to be chairman of the full House Armed Services Committee, but lost to Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas).

- Lydia Wheeler contributed.