RALEIGH N.C. (WNCN) – State Republicans unveiled two new congressional district maps Wednesday, both likely helping Republicans pick up seats in Congress.
North Carolina is currently represented by seven Democrats and seven Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Chris Cooper, an expert on state politics at Western Carolina University, says Republicans have the most to gain from the new districts.
“They are what we expected,” Chris Cooper said. “These are good maps for the Republican party. They are bad maps for the Democratic party.”
Prior voting history shows the first congressional map, SB756, could give Republicans 11 districts and Democrats three districts. The second map, SB756, could give Republicans 10 districts, democrats three and one toss-up, district 1 (currently filled by Rep. Don Davis).
“Analyzing these maps thoroughly before drawing conclusions or making assumptions is critically important,” Davis said in a statement. “No matter what changes may come, I will continue fighting for eastern North Carolina.”
Cooper says Democrats Rep. Jeff Jackson (NC-14), Rep. Kathy Manning (NC-06) and Rep. Wiley Nickel (NC-13) face steep uphill battles if they intend to run.
“Could be that they try to hold on against the prevailing winds. Perhaps they win but it’s going to be a real challenge given the way these maps look for these candidates,” Chris Cooper said.
Bill sponsors Rep. Destin Hall (R-Caldwell), Rep. Sarah Stevens (R-Surry), and Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln) released a joint statement:
“This map adheres to established redistricting principles and complies with all legal guidelines. We look forward to voting on this proposed legislation next week.”
Immediately following the release of the electoral maps, top state democrats criticized both the districts’ and Republicans’ redistricting process.
Governor Roy Cooper released the following statement:
“Enabled by the State Supreme Court’s partisan reversal of constitutional law, Republican legislators have rolled out their latest illegal maps that show gerrymandering on steroids. Drawn in the back room and armed with their new law that keeps their plotting secret, they have used race and political party to create districts that are historically discriminatory and unfair.”
Representative Deborah Ross (D-Dist. 2) called the maps “an egregious abuse of power and a threat to the strength and vitality of our democracy.”
Both maps would move District 2 slightly south, toward central Wake County. Ross said she plans to run again in 2024.
Both maps are scheduled to be discussed during committees Thursday, with a vote not expected until next week.
Initial analysis of the maps appears to give Republicans a path to maintaining their majority.