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RALEIGH, N.C. (WGHP) — Members of the North Carolina House on Wednesday night approved a new electoral map for their districts.

The House, meeting late into the evening, approved the new districts, 115-5. Rep. Ashton Clemmons (D-Greensboro) was one of the legislators applauding the new alignment on social media.

Earlier on Wednesday both the House and the Senate had released their proposed new maps to address the concerns of the state Supreme Court. The Senate has not voted on its version, meaning only one of three maps the General Assembly is required to complete by Friday had finished the process.

The House and Senate districts had one thing in common: Neither double-bunked any of the incumbents across the Piedmont Triad,

North Carolina Senate’s proposed district map (NC SENATE)
Proposed North Carolina House districts electoral map. (NC HOUSE)

Just because each chamber approves maps doesn’t mean they will become the actual districts used when voters go to their polls. These maps will have to be submitted to a 3-judge panel in Wake County Superior Court and then to the North Carolina Superior Court for approval before they can be implemented.

The Supreme Court on Feb. 4 had ordered new maps because those approved in November by lawmakers were done so with extreme partisan gerrymandering designed to give Republicans expanded or cemented control in Washington and Raleigh.

House map

The House map released this morning shows some lines that have moved slightly and perhaps some districts that are more competitive. The original maps tossed by the court would have given Republicans a good opportunity to have a supermajority of 72 seats in the House’s 120 districts.

But Asher D. Hilldebrand, an associate professor at Duke University, wrote on his Twitter feed this morning that, in his quick analysis, he sees a 55 solid GOP districts and 41 solid Democrat districts.

He said he thinks of the 24 competitive districts that 15 would lean Democrat and nine would lean Republican. He listed District 62, where John Faircloth (R-Greensboro) is the incumbent and District 59, where Jon Hardister (R-Whitsett) is the incumbent, among the Democrat-leaning/toss-up districts. Faircloth has served since 2011 and Hardister since 2013.

Across the Triad, only District 71 (Rep. Evelyn Terry) and 72 (Rep. Amber Baker) in Winston-Salem are seen by Hilldebrand to be solidly Democratic. Hilldebrand wrote that these maps are “clearly fairer” but that “it’s unlikely to produce a Dem majority even in a wave election.”

This process and the court review began when a 3-judge panel in Wake County Superior Court in early January had ruled that the legislature was guilty of extreme partisan gerrymandering but that, essentially, the state constitution gave lawmakers the responsibility to draw the maps and partisan gerrymandering wasn’t defined and couldn’t be addressed.

Supreme Court Justices, in a 4-3 decision along partisan lines, granted the appeal filed by the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters, the Harper group of plaintiffs and Common Cause and gave lawmakers until Friday to produce maps for review by the Wake County Superior Court panel of judges who first handled this case.

That court then would pass along these maps to the Supreme Court by Feb. 23 for final approval. Justices last week said they would appoint a special master to oversee this process and requested nominations for that role from all interested parties, but there has been no name announced.

With the maps in motion again, candidate filing is scheduled to resume at 8 a.m. on Feb. 24 and continue through March 5, with the primary election now scheduled for May 17. There has been speculation those dates could move – the legislature voted to do so, but Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed that measure – but the courts have not addressed that aspect.

Senate map

Appropriately the maps proposed by the state Senate would show more respect for county lines. Of the 50 senate seats, a party would need to have 30 to have a supermajority. The GOP has a 28-22 edge.

Catawba College professor and redistricting expert Michael Bitzer told WRAL-TV in Raleigh that he saw the new map as likely electing 22 Republicans and 18 Democrats, with 10 seats competitive, six of those more favorable to Democrats.

Guilford County really wouldn’t change. State Sen. Gladys Robinson (D-Greensboro), who represents the core of the city, and Michael Garrett (D-Greensboro), who represents southern and western Guilford County, would see their areas grow slightly. Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) would continue to represent northern and eastern Guilford County along with Rockingham County

Forsyth County would be divided between Sen. Joyce Krawiec (R-Kernersville), who also has Stokes County, and Sen. Paul Lowe (D-Winston-Salem). Rep. Amy Galey (R-Alamance) would continue in District 25, which includes northwestern Randolph County. The rest of Randolph County, along with Montgomery, Richmond, Anson and eastern Union counties, is ceded to Sen. David Craven (R-Asheboro) in District 29.

Davidson and Davie counties are listed with Sen. Steve Jarvis as the incumbent in District 30. Caswell, Person and Orange counties would form District 23, with Valerie Foushee (D-Orange) as its listed incumbent.

District 36, which would be comprised of Surry, Yadkin, Wilkes and Alexander counties, has no listed incumbent.