Gov. McCrory calls for a special session Thursday for redistricting

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Gov. Pat McCrory called for a special session for the General Assembly to discuss redistricting. The session will take place Thursday at 10 a.m.

"I am extremely disappointed by the recent ruling but still hope that Chief Justice Roberts will issue a stay that is in the best interest of the people of North Carolina," McCrory said in a statement Wednesday. "I am concerned that in the absence of a stay, the voting for congressional representatives could be disrupted."

State lawmakers are meeting Wednesday to go over new maps developed by a congressional redistricting committee Tuesday.

The new maps are needed because two congressional districts have been declared unconstitutional by the United States District Court for the Middle District.

The proposed congressional redistricting map would put two incumbents in the same district and create a new Charlotte-area district without an incumbent.

The boundaries released Wednesday attempt to respond to a federal court ruling that struck down the 1st and 12th Districts. Republicans disagree with the ruling but created new lines to ensure they meet the judges' order that a new map be drawn by Friday. The U.S. Supreme Court is weighing whether to stop that order.

Redistricting leader Rep. David Lewis says Republican U.S. Rep. George Holding of the 13th and Democratic Rep. David Price of the 4th would live in the same proposed district. The snake-like shape of the 12th District would be eliminated, replaced with a more compact district.

Price made no secret of his displeasure.

"The new districts are no more legitimate than the old," Price said. "A three-ten split in the House delegation does not reflect the current demographics or voter registration of our state, where more than 50 percent of the popular vote for House seats went to Democrats in the last presidential cycle. The fact that Republicans decided to maintain the current partisan split of seats before they began drawing these new maps demonstrates that they did not set out to ensure fair representation."

Those maps of the 13 congressional districts in North Carolina were redrawn using the seven criteria the committee voted through Tuesday.

"If these new districts are upheld, I look forward to providing the new counties of Randolph, Chatham and Lee a strong conservative voice in Washington," said Republican Rep. Mark Walker. "I also welcome the opportunity to represent additional communities in Greensboro and Alamance County. At the same time, I would dearly miss representing Surry and Stokes County and the good people that are dear to me."

Democrats, who hold the minority, tried unsuccessfully to vote down most of the criteria.

"Legislative Republicans are just hell-bent on rigging the system to give GOP candidates a 10-3 edge in a 50-50 state," said North Carolina Democratic Party Chairwoman Patsy Keever. "These maps ignore basic tenants of the Voting Rights Act and will be challenged. Now taxpayers will have to pay even more money to defend yet another round of illegal gerrymandering, all because North Carolina Republicans are afraid to face voters on even ground."

That court order found two districts, 1 and 12 were racially gerrymandered, which Republicans deny.

"I believe the Harris Opinion found that there was not racially polarized voting in this state and therefore, the race of the voter should not be considered," said Rep. David Lewis, committee co-chairman. "My proposal would be that we use political data only and not use race to draw congressional districts."

It's not like you're starting anew and I imagine we'll see districts very similar to the ones that we already have," said Sen. Dan Blue, Senate Minority Leader, "But just a statement that race was not considered in drawing those districts."

The Republican Party of North Carolina released a statement Wednesday afternoon. In it, NCGOP Chairman Hasan Harnett said "we applaud Chairman Lewis and Chairman Rucho for once again drawing fair and legal Congressional maps."

Harnett also praised the committee for "taking steps to protect the Legislature's Constitutional role in drawing the districts while we wait for word from the U.S. Supreme Court."

The purpose of Wednesday's meeting was to unveil the new maps hammered out Tuesday. The committee approved them 24-11 Wednesday, so the new maps will need the vote of the full legislature. That will take place at the special session.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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