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Lewis: Map bias accusations 'absurd'

Posted February 9, 2012

House Redistricting Chairman David Lewis says accusations that the GOP's maps target Democratic women are "absurd" and "misleading." 

"The maps are fair and legal," Lewis said. "What you have are people who don't like the outcomes."

"Gender has never had anything to do with it," he added. "I don't think it has anything to do with the decisions of these folks to bow out."

Lewis said Democrats' protests of gender bias are part of a campaign strategy that's also underway in other states. And the NC Democratic Party has produced TV and online ads to relay that message. GOP voting maps hit Dem women hardest GOP voting maps hit Dem women hardest

Statistics show they may have a point.

House Democratic women were much more likely to be double-bunked than their male counterparts in either party. Out of the 22 women in the House Democratic caucus, 8 were double-bunked - 36%.  That's compared to 23% of Democratic males, and 24% of GOP males. No GOP women were double-bunked.  

In the Senate, the numbers were even more stark. The fifty-member chamber includes just 6 women, 3 Ds and 3 Rs. Two of the three Democrats were double-bunked -- Ellie Kinnaird (D-Orange) and Linda Garrou (D-Forsyth).  That's 66%. In comparison, 25% of Republican men were double-bunked, 13% of Democratic men, and 33% of Republican women.  

When you go beyond double-bunking to look at district changes, four other House women saw their districts become distinctly more Republican: Alice Bordsen (D-Alamance), Marian McLawhorn (D-Pitt), Edith Warren (D-Pitt), and Martha Alexander (D-Mecklenburg).  Bordsen and Warren have already announced they won't seek re-election. The other two are said to be weighing their respective decisions carefully.

Adding up the 8 double-bunked women and the 4 above, that's 12 of 22 - 55% of the House Democratic women. 

Asked about those numbers, Lewis said neither he nor anyone else has denied some lawmakers were targeted. But he says it was because of their politics, not their gender. Lewis0209 Lewis on women and redistricting

"There are elected members of the General Assembly who happen to be women who have constantly advocated for failed policies that are out of step with what North Carolina needs," Lewis said.

"The only explanation they can come up with is to try to play some kind of victim role," he continued. "Frankly, it's offensive. And I think the people see through it."  Watch the interview at right. 

But many outspoken male Democrats in both chambers were not targeted for removal in the new maps.  

"What, women are supposed to be silent?" Senator Ellie Kinnaird responded. "They're not supposed to speak for what they believe in, for their principles, for supporting children and other women?"  

"I think it looks very, very suspicious," she said. "Probably unconscious, but it looked to me like there was a bias."   

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  • matthewwood007 Feb 16, 2012

    Yes, lets not let fact get in the way of the staus qou of outright repression of minorities and women.....which will never go away

  • driverkid3 Feb 11, 2012

    Yep, always whining about one thing or another. Still think the dems can't handle it when THEY have to go through what they put the Republicans through for so many years.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Feb 11, 2012

    Typical Democrat strategy.

    If they can't get their way at the polls and if they can't find a liberal judge legislating from the bench who will give them their way, they either play the woman or the race card.

    Amazing that people keep voting for them.

  • faperrigo Feb 11, 2012

    Based on the NCCapitol twitter feed, 'the' maps are legal and COMPETITIVE. Hence the self-imposed term limits and the vacant seats coming up. Actually, no one is talking about the Democrat seats that are rock solid with no competition in the category of race or gender.

  • For the U.S.A. Feb 10, 2012

    Democrats will so anything or say anything when EVERYthing does not go their way! So tired of their games, just wish they would all go away!!