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Republicans push “political” redistricting, hurting Black representation

By Cash Michaels, Peacemaker Senior Contributor / October 27, 2023

Say goodbye to the 7-7 North Carolina Congressional delegation split, mandated by court-appointed special masters in 2022 after the then Democratic-led State Supreme Court ruled that the Congressional redistricting map drawn by the GOP majority legislature was unconstitutional.

With passage of the new voting maps for the state’s 14 congressional districts, the North Carolina Congressional delegation will be a “10 Republicans versus 4 Democrats” split for the 2024 elections, especially now that a Republican-led State Supreme Court threw out the earlier ruling, and has given the green light to whatever the GOP majority legislature wants.

The 10-4 delegation would stay in force until after the 2030 Census.

The party with the most congressional seats, most likely controls the Congress for the next several years, political observers say.

The state Senate Redistricting Committee decided such on Monday during hearings, abandoning plans to adopt an 11-3 delegation split. Technically, because one of the four Democratic-leaning districts is drawn so competitively between a Democrat – Republican breakdown, the GOP might still get its 11th Congressional District after the 2024 elections.

That congressional district belongs to Democratic Congressman Don Davis of Greene County, who is Black. The way his First Congressional District has been redrawn, he still has an advantage, but not much.

Still, political observers say expect a lawsuit under the U.S. Voting Rights Act to challenge this voting map change.

Congresswoman Valerie Foushee of Orange County, also an African American, faced being drawn out of her congressional seat initially and being double-bunked against Davis, but survived in the latest 10-4 map approved by the Senate Redistricting Committee.

At least three White congressional Democratic incumbents – Wiley Nickel of Wake, Kathy Manning of Guilford and Jeff Jackson of Mecklenburg – are primed to be unseated under the new map.

Under the proposed 10-4 split, Republicans would maintain that advantage, even if voters statewide are divided 50-50.

That same is true if the majority of voters choose Democrats to lead in the state legislature, according to a Duke University analysis of the latest legislative maps project titled “Quantifying Gerrymandering.” In fact, if Republicans win 50 percent or more of the statewide vote, they would cash in with more than 60 percent of the legislative seats in both the state House and Senate.

Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue complained that the GOP legislative redistricting maps targeted Blacks, but mostly targeted Democratic female lawmakers who spoke out frequently, changing their districts to make re-election more difficult.

“A reasonable person would have to conclude that there’s some sort of animus you have against women,” Sen. Blue told the Senate Redistricting Committee Republicans Monday.

If the new GOP legislative maps are approved, Republicans could easily maintain their supermajorities against gubernatorial veto.

An unhappy Gov. Roy Cooper did not spare the rod.

“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,” he said in a statement.

North Carolina Democratic Party Chair Anderson Clayton opined, “…drawn by Republicans behind closed doors, [these voting maps] are a jarring example of the worst kind of politics. Republicans feel like they have the state court’s rubber stamp to hand-pick their voters – instead of giving North Carolinians the power to choose the best representatives for their communities. Diluting our voices, specifically the voices of people of color, to entrench power is a manipulation of our democracy.”

And Twelfth District Congresswoman Alma Adams, who was not affected by the new Republican Congressional maps, still blasted the effort.

“I am disappointed that North Carolina Republican leaders continue to show unfairness with recently revealed redistricting maps,” said Adams.

“Working behind closed doors without any valuable and meaningful input from Democratic colleagues, stakeholders or the public is both punitive and unfair.”

In a recent News & Observer op-ed penned by UNC Law Professor Gene Nichol, he took note of the bold manner N.C. Republican legislative leaders are flexing their absolute power.

“They seemed to have found their sweet spot — using state powers to favor themselves and their friends and to handicap and marginalize their enemies. Permanently.”

According to a story Monday in the Raleigh News and Observer, “With conservative-dominated state and federal courts unlikely to rein in the worst abuses of political mapmaking, Republican gains from the maps — if approved — are likely to continue for years to come. “It looks like, as we would have expected, that the deck is pretty stacked,” said Irving Joyner, an N.C. Central University law professor who’s been active in fights against racially discriminatory maps in this state for years.”

The maps are expected to be approved today, Thursday, if not tomorrow by the Republican-led N.C. General Assembly.

Republican Reps. Destin Hall, Sarah Stevens, and Jason Saine, said in a statement about the state House redistricting map, “This map adheres to established redistricting principles and complies with all legal guidelines. We look forward to voting on this proposed legislation.”

Gov. Cooper has no veto power over the voting maps once passed.

Candidate filing begins December 4th.




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Since 1967, the Carolina Peacemaker has served as North Carolina’s leading news weekly with a national reputation. Founded by Dr. John Kilimanjaro, the newspaper is published by Carolina Newspaper, Inc.

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