State Watch

North Carolina legislature approves new US House maps

North Carolina legislators approved new U.S. House district map lines late Thursday, creating at least three competitive congressional districts after the state’s highest court struck down lawmakers’ first attempt at revised boundaries.

The maps appear to create seven solidly Republican districts across the state and three districts almost certain to elect a Democratic member of Congress. A fourth district, held by retiring Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D), leans toward Democrats.

Three other districts would be narrowly divided between the two parties, potentially imperiling two incumbents who plan to seek reelection this year.

One seat, which includes the home of Rep. Kathy Manning (D), stretches from Greensboro south and east into Democratic-leaning Chatham County and Republican-leaning territory in Lee and Harnett counties.

That district meets another seat, drawn through Cumberland and Bladen counties down to the Atlantic Coast, held by Rep. David Rouzer (R).

A third potentially competitive seat sits west of Charlotte, through Gaston, Cleveland and part of Rutherford counties. The district is home to Rep. Dan Bishop (R), though Bishop has plans to run in a district east of Charlotte that is more favorable to Republicans.

The new maps passed the legislature Thursday on a party-line vote as majority Republicans worked to draw district lines that would pass muster with the state Supreme Court. Republicans said Thursday their plan meets the court’s order to draw more competitive district lines.

“While Democrat-run states like New York and Illinois are further entrenching their political power, this remedial map reflects North Carolina’s voters and political landscape, not a predetermined partisan outcome,” state Sen. Warren Daniel (R) said Thursday. “In doing so, our state will have what we believe to be four of the most competitive districts in the nation.”

Democrats in the legislature objected, and several Republican sources told The Hill they expect the high court — on which Democrats hold a 4-3 majority — to make their own changes.

“Republicans refused to work in good faith with Democrats to draw state Senate and Congressional maps which remedy unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering. Now all three maps will go to the Court which will decide how best to proceed,” state Democratic Party Chair Bobbie Richardson said in a statement.

If the state Supreme Court signs off on the maps, they will become law. North Carolina state law does not allow Gov. Roy Cooper (D) any input on map lines, a legacy of a law passed three decades ago in which Democrats — then in control of the General Assembly — moved to block Gov. Jim Martin (R) from vetoing congressional district map lines.

Tags Congressional maps David Rouzer G.K. Butterfield Gerrymandering North Carolina Redistricting state Supreme Court

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