Republicans Working Hard To Regain Seats

On Wednesday, North Carolina’s GOP proposed new boundaries for the state’s 14 congressional districts for the 2024 elections. This new proposal could jeopardize the reelection of three Democratic U.S. House members. Two versions of the proposal were introduced by Senate redistricting committee leaders, with a final decision expected by month’s end. The upcoming 2024 election’s candidate registration starts in December.

The state’s current congressional delegation has an equal representation of seven Democrats and seven Republicans due to the 2022 elections. The map drawn by trial judges mirrors North Carolina’s historically tight statewide electoral races.

However, the recent proposals hint at a potential shift. One suggests 10 Republican-favorable districts, three Democratic-favorable, and one competitive one. The other leans towards the Republicans, suggesting they might secure 11 out of 14 seats. It remains uncertain which proposal will be chosen or if a combination of both will be considered.

Though the state House will provide input, a 10-4 or 11-3 split could be a significant advantage for Republicans in the upcoming elections. Interestingly, North Carolina’s constitution exempts redistricting decisions from being vetoed by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.

Asher Hildebrand, a redistricting specialist at Duke University, noted that this shift could favor Republicans with three additional House seats. Democrats Jeff Jackson, Wiley Nickel, and Kathy Manning are among those who might face reelection challenges. Valerie Foushee or Don Davis, both first-term Black representatives, might have to contend in Republican-leaning zones or relocate.

The 7-7 split from the previous map arose after it was ruled that extensive partisan gerrymandering violated the state’s constitution. However, a shift in the state Supreme Court’s political alignment has since removed this restriction, allowing more partisan map-drawing.

The new proposals suggest dividing the state’s most densely populated Democratic regions — like Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greensboro — into multiple districts, potentially diluting Democratic influence by merging them with Republican-leaning areas.

While the Senate will first review the congressional plan, House Redistricting Committee chairman, GOP Rep. Destin Hall, stated that both legislative chambers collaborated on this proposal. Both House and Senate redistricting committees introduced legislation to redraw their districts.

Reacting to the new maps, Gov. Cooper criticized them as excessive gerrymandering. After the 2022 elections, Republicans were close to securing veto-proof majorities in both chambers, a milestone they achieved in April when a Democrat transitioned parties. Now, legislative leaders hope to maintain these supermajorities, having used them to overturn all of Cooper’s vetoes this year.