- Associated Press - Thursday, February 18, 2016

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A new map that divides North Carolina’s 13 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives would mean hundreds of thousands of voters would have to size up new lawmakers they may not have known before.

Unless the U.S. Supreme Court intervenes, legislators have until Friday to redraw the state’s congressional district map after a three-judge federal panel ruled this month that two districts represented race-based gerrymandering.

Here’s what the changes would mean to North Carolina’s House delegation and the people they represent if the map is used for this year’s congressional elections.


Mapmakers designed the new districts to make them more compact while protecting the current political makeup of the state’s delegation, in which districts are represented by 10 Republicans and three Democrats. Those Democrat-leaning districts include one in the Triangle represented by David Price, and the two characterized by their significant black composition that were declared unconstitutionally gerrymandered - the 1st and 12th Districts.

The 1st District is represented by G.K. Butterfield, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. The new district would reach further into Durham County than before and no longer include parts of Chowan, Perquimans and Pasquotank counties along the Albemarle Sound.


Political mapmakers have for two decades been criticized for the contours of the 12th District, which snakes along Interstate 85 from Charlotte to Greensboro and Winston-Salem to collect pockets of Democrats.

The simplified district now includes most of Mecklenburg County, excluding the Greensboro home of first-term U.S. Rep. Alma Adams. Members of Congress aren’t required to live in the district they represent, but voters usually prefer it. Adams currently lives in the proposed 13th District, which was drawn to lean in favor of Republicans. The 13th would include all of Davie and Davidson counties and portions of Guilford, Iredell and Rowan counties.


Price’s 4th District no longer would look like the silhouette of a leaning, bow-legged cowboy. It would be made up of all of Orange County, along with parts of Durham and Wake counties. The new 4th District design also envelopes the home of two-term Republican George Holding, whose totally revamped district currently is numbered lucky 13.


Rep. Renee Ellmers’ Harnett County home would stay in the 2nd District. The county includes many people stationed at or employed by Fort Bragg, giving Ellmers a continuing interest in the welfare of the Army base. But the base itself will primarily be in the redesigned 8th District represented by Concord’s Richard Hudson.

Ellmers currently faces a primary contest from GOP challengers claiming to be more conservative than the former nurse who went to Washington in 2011 with tea party backing. She has made much of her efforts to represent the military and its service members, including preserving the 440th Airlift Wing at Fort Bragg. Deactivating the unit as the Pentagon wants would force most of its Air Force Reserves members to find jobs at other military installations.


Charlotte-based Rep. Robert Pittenger’s 9th District has been aligned on a tidy, north-south path that includes Mecklenburg County’s suburbs, Lake Norman and western chunks of Iredell and Union counties. It was restructured to include only the southeast of Mecklenburg County and then run east along the South Carolina border to include all of Union County as well as poorer neighbors in Anson, Richmond, Scotland and Robeson counties before snagging parts of Bladen and Cumberland counties.


The 3rd District represented by Walter Jones would take in all of several northeastern counties and Craven, Greene and Lenoir counties. Currently he represents portions of them. The part of Pender County that Jones has represented is transferred to the 7th District, now represented by David Rouzer.

Rouzer’s 7th District would include the southern half of Johnston County, rather than all of it, and lose parts of Cumberland, Robeson and Hoke counties.

Rep. Virginia Foxx’s 5th District adds Avery, Surry and Stokes counties, while losing parts of Davie, Iredell, Davidson and Rowan counties.

The 6th District and first-term Rep. Mark Walker would be introduced to new voters in Randolph, Chatham and Lee counties while giving up northern Orange and Durham counties.

The 10th District represented by Patrick McHenry will see little change and would still include parts of Asheville. The far-western 11th District of Rep. Mark Meadows loses Avery County.


Follow Emery P. Dalesio at https://twitter.com/emerydalesio. His work can be found at https://bigstory.ap.org/content/emery-p-dalesio

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