North Carolina’s congressional map has been finalized. The Republican-dominated legislature has opted to pass the less aggressive of two proposed gerrymanders, with a slight alteration in the arrangement of the 3rd and 5th districts. This new map contains 10 Trump districts and 4 Biden districts, but one of the Biden districts is expected to be a competitive swing seat.
With the North Carolina gerrymander set in stone, we expect that Republicans will net four districts from the state, shifting the delegation from an evenly-split 7-7 to a lopsided 10-4 or 11-3 Republican majority, depending on how NC-01 votes.
NC-01 (Don Davis, Democratic)
Currently represented by Democrat Don Davis, this seat is based in the historically Democratic northeast. Like its adjacent region in Virginia, this region has seen a rapid realignment. Majority-black counties have declined in population, while surrounding majority-white counties have become increasingly Republican.
Black voters make up around 40% of the electorate here, while white voters make up nearly 51%. Redistricting has shifted this district from a Biden+8 seat to a Biden+2 one, and Republican Ted Budd won this new version by six points in 2022’s Senate contest. Likely Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump will probably carry this district, making it a tough hold for Democrats. While Davis is a solid ideological fit for the area, the new version of this district removes Pitt County, an area Davis overperformed in last cycle. We’re starting this as a Tossup.
NC-02 (Deborah Ross, Democratic)
This district is based entirely in Wake County and contains all but a single precinct of the state capitol, Raleigh. It is currently represented by Democrat Deborah Ross, who was the party’s nominee for Senate in 2016. White voters make up a majority of the district’s population at 57%. Joe Biden carried this seat by 35 percentage points in 2020, and it’s one of three seats we rate as Safe Democratic.
NC-03 (Greg Murphy, Republican)
Stretching from the Outer Banks to inland, this district ranks as one of the most Republican under the new map. Trump carried this district by 17 percentage points, and Budd carried it by a wider margin of almost 23 percentage points. Incumbent Greg Murphy will almost certainly win another term in this Safe Republican district.
NC-04 (Valerie Foushee, Democratic)
This reconfigured districts includes all of Durham and Orange counties, along with a Democratic-leaning portion of Chatham County and a large chunk of Wake County. At Biden+46, this ranks as the second-most Democratic seat in the state. White voters are a majority here at 56%, but the district contains a large black population (22%) as well as the largest Asian population in the state (11.3%). First-term Democrat Valerie Foushee will easily carry this Safe Democratic district, although she may face a primary challenge in the future; this district is one of the few in the state to contain a large number of progressive voters.
NC-05 (Virginia Foxx, Republican/Kathy Manning, Democratic)
This ugly district stretches from the mountainous High Country to Greensboro, containing a majority of the city. Trump would have carried this district by around 15 percentage points, but Budd would have won by a wider 18-point margin.
Incumbent Virginia Foxx will easily carry this Safe Republican seat, although at 80 years old, it’s possible Foxx doesn’t serve out the decade. This district also contains the home of current Greensboro Rep. Kathy Manning. Manning has said she’ll run for another term even after redistricting, but it’s unclear which Greensboro-area seat she’ll attempt to run in.
This reconfigured district now stretches from Concord to Greensboro and High Point, overwhelming Democratic-leaning areas in the Piedmont Triad with three of the most Republican counties in the state (Davie, Davidson, and Rowan).
The result is an extremely Republican district; Budd carried it by nearly 20 percentage points. Former Republican Rep. Mark Walker has already announced a plan to run in the district, as has High Point’s Republican mayor Jay Wagner. Whoever the Republican nominee is, they’ll be heavily favored in this Safe Republican district.
NC-07 (David Rouzer)
Stretching from Democratic-trending New Hanover County to Fayetteville, this district ranks as one of the less Republican in the new map. Trump would have only carried this seat by 11 percentage points, and Democratic Governor Roy Cooper would have come within four points of carrying it in his re-election bid.
That being said, it’s still a seat we see as Safe Republican. Population growth in Brunswick and Pender Counties, which are strongly Republican, has overwhelmed Democratic gains in New Hanover, and the rural inland areas in Bladen, Columbus, and Sampson counties continue to trend Republican. It is possible this seat becomes competitive by the end of the decade, but it won’t be in 2024.
Stretching from the Charlotte suburbs to the Sandhills, this district ranks as the most Republican in the state. Containing Republican-trending parts of the rural, ancestrally Democratic Sandhills as well as Democratic-trending, ancestrally Republican areas in Mecklenburg County, this seat is likely to be fairly stable throughout the decade. Trump would have carried it by nearly 18 percentage points, and Budd would have won it by 21 percentage points.
Incumbent Republican Dan Bishop is retiring to run for Attorney General, leaving this an open district. We expect that whichever Republican advances will easily win this Safe Republican seat.
NC-09 (Richard Hudson, Republican)
This monstrous seat stretches from the suburbs of Greensboro to Fayetteville, anchored by Trump+56 Randolph County. On the whole, this seat would have backed Trump by a 14-point margin; outside of Randolph County, it only backed Trump by a 3.5% margin. This could almost be regarded as a “leftovers” district, dragging in a bunch of areas with very little in common.
NRCC chair Richard Hudson, who lives in Southern Pines in Moore County, will easily win another term in this Safe Republican district. This might be a seat to watch in the long-term, however.
NC-10 (Patrick McHenry, Republican)
Stretching from the Charlotte suburbs to Forsyth County, this district is home to now-former Speaker Pro Tem Patrick McHenry.
At Trump+16, this seat is one that he should easily be able to win; it’s one of the more Republican-leaning seats under the new map. We have this as Safe Republican.
NC-11 (Chuck Edwards, Republican)
The most competitive of the state’s Trump districts, this mountain-based seat is contained entirely in Appalachia. Current incumbent Chuck Edwards was first elected in 2022 after defeating controversial freshman Madison Cawthorn, who held the pre-George Santos world record for most scandals by a freshman congressman.
If you’re a Republican, it’s probably a good thing Edwards won; due to Democratic trends in Buncombe County, home to the liberal mecca of Asheville, this Trump+11 seat actually trended left in 2022, and would have voted for Budd by only nine percentage points. Edwards is a good fit for the seat, but this is probably the one Trump district North Carolina Democrats could make a somewhat serious play for. We’re rating it Likely Republican.
NC-12 (Alma Adams, Democratic)
The most Democratic district in the state, the 12th is based entirely in Mecklenburg County and almost entirely in Charlotte, the largest city in North Carolina. Joe Biden won this district by 50 percentage points, With a white voting age population of just under 40%, this is the only majority-minority district in the state. Longtime incumbent Alma Adams, known for her large hat collection, will easily win re-election in this Safe Democratic district.
NC-13 (Wiley Nickel, Democratic)
Swinging wildly around the Research Triangle, this Trump+17 seat scoops up the last Republcian-leaning portions of Wake County and combines them with a handful of rural counties, along with the more suburban Harnett, Lee, and Johnston counties.
Incumbent Democrat Wiley Nickel, a first-termer elected in a mild upset, has announced he’s running for re-election. But this seat is simply too Republican for him to compete in, even if it’s a rematch with failed Republican candidate Bo Hines. We’re rating this as Safe Republican.
NC-14 (Jeff Jackson, Democratic)
Of all the districts, this was perhaps the most obvious target for Republicans. Under the previous map, Charlotte was cracked in two, allowing State Senator Jeff Jackson to easily win in 2020. The new 14th district contains very little of Mecklenburg County, however, stretching from Huntersville to Pineville – a design clearly intended to be an opportunity district for state house speaker Tim Moore.
Jackson, who has became Tok Tok famous much to the chagrin of Senator Thom Tillis, has acknowledged that his district was “nuked”, so it seems unlikely he’d run for another term in this Trump+16 district. The only real question in this Safe Republican seat is if Moore decides to step into the race or not.
The big picture
For now, every state in the country has a set of congressional districts, although a handful (including New York and South Carolina) may redraw before the 2024 election. Under the current lines, we now favor Republicans in 210 districts and Democrats in 205 districts, with 20 as Tossups.
Six of these Tossup districts are currently held by Democrats, with the other 14 held by Republicans. With 218 seats needed for a theoretical majority, Republicans would only need to win eight of the tossup districts for a majority, while Democrats would need to win 13.