State lawmakers discussing new political maps for 2024 congressional elections

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Thursday, October 19, 2023
Lawmakers discuss new political maps for 2024 elections
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Senate redistricting committee leaders introduced two proposals that would rework the boundary lines for the state's 14 house seats.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- State lawmakers discussed new political maps for next year's congressional elections that could help Republicans pick up more seats in Washington next year.

Right now, North Carolina's congressional delegation is split between seven Democrats and seven Republicans.

Senate redistricting committee leaders introduced two proposals that would rework the boundary lines for the state's 14 house seats.

The House Redistricting Committee met first Thursday, where they discussed House plans. In the afternoon, the Senate Redistricting and Elections Committee met to discuss the Senate and Congressional plans.

Republicans hold supermajorities in both chambers, which the party has utilized to override numerous vetoes from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper during this session.

"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.

However, if Democrats are able to flip one seat in either chamber and win the governor's race in 2024, veto powers would be greatly strengthened.

"It doesn't lock in any majority at all for the rest of the decade. Anybody who thinks that, they're making a mistake," said Rep. Destin Hall, a Republican who serves as Chairman of the Redistricting Committee. "We've all got to go out and campaign very hard. I think what will determine if we have majorities in this body will be the principles that we've passed throughout this decade and this session as well."

Lawmakers will have the opportunity to introduce amendments ahead of voting next week. While House Democratic Leader Robert Reives did not commit to doing so, he was critical of the current voting map creation process.

"Candidly, I can't say it's fair representation of North Carolina. And I think that's what the big problem is. I've always felt that this needs to be out of our hands. No matter what you feel about the maps and no matter how they end up, at the end of the day, even if we were allowed input at some point in time, you've got to recognize that the best thing for North Carolina and really the best thing to move the state forward is something that represents the state a little bit better," said Reives.

During the Senate Session, Democratic Sen. Natasha Marcus pressed Republican leadership for information on how the map was drawn. While committee chairs in both the House and Senate said no racial data was used, prior electoral results could be taken into account.

"It was very clear they were not answering the questions that we raised. I think we finally got them to admit toward the end that the only criteria that mattered to them was political gain," said Marcus. "One thing that they didn't say outright but became clear to me was there was a lot of districts that did not need to be changed, and they were only changed for political reasons."

Co-Chairman Sen. Ralph Hise was unavailable for an interview following the session.

A slate of Democratic Congressional Representatives released statements Wednesday night, hours after the maps were released to the public. Political analysts said they believe Republicans would be favored in 10 or 11 districts (two Congressional maps are up for consideration), offering key pick-up opportunities for the party.

Hall, in response to a reporter's question, said the Congressional map was not drawn to favor a potential Congressional run for Speaker of the House Tim Moore, a Republican.

"That was not the goal in drawing the maps. I think if you just look at the population of the state obviously in the far west, (the 11th District) with Chuck Edwards, you start in Cherokee and then you move east," Hall said. "You kind of run out of population right before you get to Speaker Moore's territory. So at that point, it almost creates sort of a natural area that would be a district. I don't know if he'll run for Congress or not. We'll find out here pretty soon."

Moore has announced he will not run for the State House again, though has not shared any further plans.

Congressman Jeff Jackson, in his first term serving the 14th District, released a short video on social media Thursday, where he said "Just two months ago, I told you I was pretty sure I was about to get drawn out of my district and it probably just happened. Two draft maps out, and both of them draw me out of my district and put me in one that's totally unwinnable. If either of these maps become final, it means I'm toast in Congress."

The public can submit written comments online regarding the maps.

Voting is set to begin next week.