RALEIGH, N.C. (WGHP) — The State House on Tuesday night released a new electoral map for congress that basically divides the Piedmont Triad into three parts and restores Rep. Kathy Manning (D-Greensboro) and Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-Banner Elk) into redrawn versions of their current districts.
The map, revealed on Twitter by Rep. Destin Hall, one of the committee members from the House, has the northwestern portion of Guilford County. which includes Greensboro but not High Point, reunited with all of Forsyth County into the 6th Congressional District, in which Manning is the incumbent.
The remainder of Guilford County, the largest chunk of real estate, is part of what would be now the 13th District, with all of Davidson, Alamance, Caswell and Person counties and the western half of Chatham County. That district, which likely would be Republican-leaning, has no incumbent.
Virginia Foxx (R-Banner Elk), the current 5th District representative who had been “double-bunked” with Manning in the map tossed out by the North Carolina Supreme Court, remains in her 5th District, which would be comprised of all of Rockingham, Stokes, Surry, Davie, Yadkin, Wilkes, Alleghany, Ashe, Watauga, Caldwell and Avery counties, most of Iredell and the northern half of and Alexander counties.
This map is far from final, and the state Senate has to release its version, too. There are also maps being drawn by committees in both chambers for the state House and Senate districts. All of these maps have to pass committees and be voted on by the full memberships.
The North Carolina 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.
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.
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.
The Triad has been at the heart of arguments about gerrymandered districts. For instance Guilford County, now combined with Winston-Salem in the 6th Congressional District, was split among three separate districts (7th, 10th and 11th) and placed Manning and Foxx in the same far-flung district.
Overall the original maps were developed in a manner to give the GOP a 10-4 or 11-3 edge in Washington and close to a supermajority in the General Assembly. The court is insisting on more competition in a state that has more registered Democratic voters than Republicans.
GOP lawmakers said they created those maps in the most transparent way and devoid of voting and racial data, but it’s unclear what process or information they used in devising these updates.
Some highlights from the House’s map:
- The numbering of the districts changed drastically, so ignoring prior numbers helps make this clearer.
- The only double-bunked district is in Charlotte, with Democrat Alma Adams and Republican Dan Bishop, who had indicated he might run in what is now the 9th District, which has no incumbent and includes much of his current territory.
- The 14th District, which consists of all of Harnett, Hoke, Robeson, Bladen, Cumberland, Columbus and western Brunswick County, also has no incumbent.
- Patrick McHenry (R-Denver), who had represented a chunk of the Triad, now is listed in the 10th District, which is west of his home area.
- The districts of incumbents G.K. Butterfield (D-Wilson) and Madison Cawthorn (R-Hendersonville) changed somewhat. But Butterfield has announced his retirement, and Cawthorn had planned to move to a vacant district to run.
- Incumbent Richard Hudson (R-Concord) now is seated in the 8th District, which is Rowan and Cabarrus counties, northern Mecklenburg County and a little piece of Iredell County.
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.