Democrats take map battle back to state court in bid to break GOP supermajority

Wednesday, February 07, 2018 11:35PM
Democrats take to the courts while Republicans grow weary of the ongoing struggle over election maps.


RALEIGH, NC - Monday is the day anyone who wants to run for a seat in the State Legislature can start filing their paperwork. That's just five days away, but it's still uncertain what these legislative districts will look like.

Hours after a U.S. Supreme Court decision came down Tuesday, Democrats filed another suit in state court Wednesday. And Republicans are fuming.

"Literally all (Democrats) care about is electing Democrats at all times and all costs," said Harnett County Republican State Rep. David Lewis.

In an afternoon news conference, Lewis sounded fed up with the court fights over the legislative district maps he helped draw more than seven years ago. It's the latest turn in the years-long saga about the maps voters use to choose candidates - maps the courts decided were drawn by Republicans to dilute African-American voting power.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court stepped in to block Democratic adjustments to some of the maps while Republicans appealed a lower court ruling to re-draw them. But Wednesday afternoon, Democrats filed suit in state Superior Court on grounds that it's a state matter.

"This is ridiculous," Lewis said. "It is time to get the 2018 election season started without any more voter confusion."

DEMOCRATS TRYING TO BREAK GOP SUPER-MAJORITIES

In a Facetime interview with ABC11, Durham and Orange County Democrat Graig Meyer defended his party's decision to keep fighting for the new maps in court.

"I think the most important thing is that people want their elections to be fair. So we had to go to the courts to get it."

Rep. Meyer is in the midst of a grassroots, online campaign to recruit more Democrats to run for state office in November. His party hopes to turn the tide of GOP super-majorities and a conservative-leaning agenda.

Meyer says Democrats have already recruited as many candidates as they did in 2016. They hope to far exceed that number and even compete in traditionally red rural North Carolina districts.

"Because we have these new maps with better districts and because we have really energized candidates in a grassroots base, 2018 is looking to be the best year Democrats have had in quite a while," Meyer said.

But with just five days to go until candidates are set to file their intentions to run, those maps remain in judicial limbo.

Despite the ongoing court battles, Lewis said he believes the State Board of Elections will be ready to open candidate filing by Monday.
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