Despite the recent approval of new bipartisan legislative maps in North Carolina, Republicans remain favored to hold the state legislature. Under North Carolina state law, the Governor cannot veto maps drawn by the legislature and maps only need to be approved by the legislature. Looking ahead to 2022, when new congressional maps based on updated population counts from the 2020 Census will take effect. Over the next few weeks I’ll be examining three different map possibilities for 2022 based on current population estimates from the census.
This first map was drawn to be a Republican gerrymander of North Carolina:
9 districts (2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13) favor Republicans and 5 (1, 4, 6, 12, and 14) favor Democrats. While this map appears fairly compact and city splits are kept to a minimum, every decision here favors Republicans; 2 and 9 grab up the most Republican portions of the big urban counties of Wake and Mecklenburg, respectively, 5 swamps Democratic-leaning Forsyth county with some of the reddest rural areas in the state, 6 packs Greensboro with the liberal bastion of Chapel Hill, and 10 divides Buncombe from the ancestrally Democratic rurals that surround it.
Three districts (1, 12, and 14) could potentially qualify as VRA seats; 1 and 12 are plurality black while 14 is plurality white. Every Republican seat gave Republican John McCain at least 55% of the vote, while the five Democratic seats gave Democrat Barack Obama an average of 63%. Out of the Republican seats, 2 would probably be the most flippable due to the increasingly blue nature of Wake county, but even that would be a stretch.
The least Democratic seat, 14, only gave Obama 55%, and recent trends in the area have shifted it to the right since 2008, especially among the native Lumbee tribe. However, every other Democratic seat is extremely safe. Because of this, the right Republican could compete or win in this seat, giving Republicans the potential to elect 10 representatives. This would be a very durable Republican gerrymander of North Carolina.
If you want to take a closer look at the map, click on this link to view it in Dave’s Redistricting App.