NEWPORT NEWS -- Republican Governor Bob McDonnell said Thursday a redistricting bill pushed through the Virginia Senate by its GOP members was a 'surprise' to him.
'That's not the way we normally do business (up here) as the way that bill went through,' McDonnell explained during a visit to Newport News to pitch his transportation plan.
The legislation, seen as a sneak attack by many, reshapes Senate districts across the Commonwealth, giving several districts with Democratic representation a larger Republican make-up.
The even split of Democrats and GOP members in the Senate should have allowed Democrats to block the bill, but the vote was taken on Inauguration Day when Senator Henry March, III (D) of Richmond was in Washington, DC attending Inauguration Day ceremonies.
The move captured nationwide attention, including that of satirist and comedian Stephen Colbert.
The host of The Colbert Report on Comedy Central named Republicans in the Virginia State Senate his 'Alpha Dogs' for the week.
'They waited until Democrat Senator, and longtime civil rights leader left town on Martin Luther King Day to attend President Obama's inauguration,' Colbert said. 'How fitting. In the words of Dr. King, 'I have been to the mountaintop, and while I was there, they heavily redistricted the Promised Land.'
When asked if he would veto the bill if it reached him, McDonnell didn't give a direct 'yes' or 'no' answer. He said he hadn't looked at it.
'It still faces some hurdles in the House of Delegates. I don't know if I'll get it. If I do, I'll do what I do with every bill, and that is to make sure that it's legal, constitutional, and, then, whether that's the right policy,' McDonnell stated.
Some Democrats already have said if the bill does make it through the Governor's Office and is allowed to stand, they will not help push McDonnell's plan for overhauling transportation funding and the way the Commonwealth handles transportation issues.