RALEIGH, N.C. (WGHP) — The North Carolina General Assembly this morning approved new redistricting maps for Congress and the state Senate and House that would be used for elections throughout this decade.
Legal challenges are expected – the NAACP already has filed a suit – because Democrats believe Republicans drew the district lines to protect their advantages in Washington and Raleigh, even as past elections have shown the state’s electorate to be more “purple” than overwhelmingly red or blue.
In 2019 federal courts required new lines for Congressional districts to be drawn for the 2020 election, but most of that work is wiped out in these new maps.
That is inherently evident around Greensboro and Winston-Salem. The current 6th District includes all of Guilford County and the portion of Forsyth County that encompasses Winston-Salem. Democrat Kathy Manning serves that district.
The remainder of Forsyth County was part of the 10th District — represented by Patrick McHenry (R-Cherryville) — along with an arc of northern and western counties. Another large swathe of the Triad was part of the 13th District, represented by Republican Ted Budd, who is a candidate for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Republican Richard Burr.
But in these new maps Guilford County is divided among three districts – the 10th, 11th and 7th districts – that range from Blowing Rock in the west to the Mecklenburg County line in the south and into Wake County in the east.
Forsyth County would be contained fully in the 12th District, which loops west and south to include Yadkin, Catawba, Lincoln and half of Iredell counties. McHenry is the incumbent in that disrict.
The 11th District includes the portions of Guilford County that encompass Greensboro, Oak Ridge and Summerfield, and then it includes all of Rockingham, Stokes, Surry, Alleghany, Ashe, Wilkes, Alexander and Caldwell counties.
The map, created by the state Senate, also includes a small “bubble” of southwestern Watauga County – around Boone, Blowing Rock and Linville – and it listed two incumbents, showing Manning as residing in the portion of the district that is in Guilford County and Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-Banner Elk), the current representative of that area in the 5th District, as a resident of the portion in Watauga County.
Foxx on Thursday afternoon announced her candidacy in the 11th District. Banner Elk spills over into Avery County, Foxx’s communications director, Alex Ives, said in an email, and he said that Foxx lives in the new district, in the portion of Banner Elk that is in Watauga County. Congressional candidates aren’t required by law to live in the district where they run, only within the state.
“This district is composed of many wonderful North Carolina counties, most of which I have the privilege of currently representing and virtually all of which I have represented in Congress in the recent past,” Foxx said in her announcement.
The southwestern portion of Guilford County that includes High Point now will be part of the 10th District, which includes western Davidson, southern Iredell and all of Rowan and Cabarrus counties. The incumbent would be Rep. Richard Hudson (R-Concord), who currently represents the 8th District that stretches east to Fayetteville.
Budd, who lives in Advance in Davie County, also is listed as the incumbent in some of that district, although his focus has been on the Senate race, so that likely doesn’t matter.
The eastern portion of Guilford County in the 7th District would include eastern Davidson, all of Randolph, Alamance, Chatham and Lee Counties and a southwestern bubble of Wake County. There is no incumbent in that district.
Manning has been vocal about how she views the politics behind these maps.
“These congressional maps represent an extreme partisan gerrymander that splits communities of interest, disregards the redistricting criteria set forth by the Committee, and shows a callous disinterest for the representation that North Carolinians requested during the public comment periods leading up to the vote,” she said in a statement released last week.
“Under these maps, Guilford County is split into three congressional districts, diluting my constituent’s interests, and lumping them in with far-flung counties in the western mountains, the suburbs of Charlotte, and as far east as Wake County. These maps don’t acknowledge that the Triad is a region with shared interests, concerns, and needs.”
“I am not willing to let these partisan maps take away my constituents’ right to representation. … I will continue my efforts to make sure the people of North Carolina get the representation they deserve.”
State Senate maps
Maps for the state Senate, drawn and passed by the Senate, maintains High Point and southwestern Guilford in District 27, now served by Democrat Michael Garrett, Greensboro in District 28, served by Democrat Gladys Robinson, and the vast swath of more rural Guilford County combined with Rockingham County in District 26, served by state Senate Leader Phil Berger, a Republican.
Forsyth and Stokes comprise Districts 31 and 32, and Davidson and Davie comprise District 30.
Randolph County is split, with its western half combined with southern counties in District 29, and its eastern half with Alamance County in District 25. Chatham County and southernmost Durham County form District 20.
District 37, which is all of Iredell County and northernmost Mecklenburg, would appear to have two incumbents: Republican Vickie Sawyer of Iredell and Democrat Natasha Marcus of Mecklenburg.
State House maps
State law requires candidates to have lived in a House district for a year before they can file. Emails seeking clarity and comment have been sent to Clemmons and Harrison.
Maps drawn and passed by the House maintain lines in Guilford County for incumbents John Faircloth (R), Amos Quick (D), Cecil Brockman (D), John Hardister (R), Pricey Harrison (D) and Ashton Clemmons (D). Harrison confirmed that the version of the map that appears to show both of residing in District 61 is misleading. A precinct-level map shows Clemmons to be a resident of District 57.
Chatham and Rockingham are self-contained districts, and Alamance, Randolph and Davidson counties are split into two. Stokes contains a sliver of Forsyth County, which also has Districts 71, 72, 74 and 75
Reaction to maps
“I am confident that the House and Senate have approved redistricting plans that include maps that are constitutional in every respect,” NC House Speaker Tim Moore said in a statement released by his office.
“This redistricting process has provided the public with an unprecedented view into the process. In fact, not only did we hold hearings for public comments before and after maps had been drawn, but every single map was drawn in public view.”
But Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause NC – whose lawsuit led the courts to redraw congressional districts for the 2020 election – saw the process and outcome differently.
“The very criteria adopted by the legislature to create voting maps was severely flawed,” Phillips said in a statement released Thursday afternoon. “Against pleas from redistricting experts, committee leaders refused to follow the law, which requires determining levels of racially polarized voting before drawing districts. The decision by committee leaders to cynically reject that legal requirement could unconstitutionally deprive Black voters of a voice in choosing their representatives for years to come.”
He criticized the number of public hearings legislators conducted and said the entire process fell short of requirements for transparency, saying they were absent of interactive maps to make the process clearer to voters.
“We are troubled that these districts would especially hurt Black voters, harmfully split communities and undermine the freedom of North Carolinians to have a voice in choosing their representatives. Our state deserves better,” he said in the release.
RepresentUs, which bills itself as a nonpartisan, anti-corruption watchdog, gave the process a grade of F, saying that legislators didn’t fulfill the public’s known preference for nonpartisan redistricting.
Virginia Foxx Announces Candidacy in New NC-11 for Re-Election in 2022
November 4, 2021
Boone, NC—U.S. Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC) announced today that she will run for re-election to the United States House of Representatives in North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District in 2022 based on new congressional district maps approved by the North Carolina General Assembly today.
Foxx made the following statement:
“The new congressional district maps are approved, so I’m thrilled to announce that I am running for re-election in North Carolina’s new 11th Congressional District. This district is composed of many wonderful North Carolina counties, most of which I have the privilege of currently representing and virtually all of which I have represented in Congress in the recent past.
“Based on the results of this week’s elections across our nation, it is clear that voters are fed up with the big-spending, big-government policies and far-left politicians. They want limited government that is accountable to the people and that doesn’t waste taxpayer dollars on leftist pet projects. I promise to continue to fight to stop this explosive growth of government power and government spending.
“As a lifelong educator and ranking member of the House Education & Labor Committee, I am also dedicated to listening to parents and students who are concerned about the direction of education in our schools. We cannot afford to let our nation’s schools become a breeding ground for politically correct groupthink, tyrannical wokeism, and anti-American indoctrination.
“For our schools to succeed in educating the next generation of American citizens, they must give priority to local control, parental input and common sense. That’s our proven American tradition and the recipe for success in education that actually works. As voters just proved in Virginia, education policy is now the winning ticket to firing Speaker Pelosi and restoring a conservative Republican majority in Congress. To that end, I’m committed to working with Leader McCarthy on a Parents Bill of Rights to prove that we are listening to the American people and making Congress work on their behalf.
“I look forward to running in the 11th Congressional District in 2022, and if re-elected I promise to continue to fight every day for common sense solutions that preserve our God-given liberties, that empower North Carolinians and that make our nation the greatest country in the world.”