New census numbers out today show that while some House districts ballooned in population over the past decade, others saw losses that could mean trouble in the redistricting process.
The biggest shrinkage was in House 43 (Cumberland), Elmer Floyd's district. According to the census, it lost 20 percent of its population since 2000. Given that it includes Fort Bragg, there's some suspicion that deployed soldiers were undercounted. We'll probably be hearing more about that soon from Cumberland County officials.
Going with the new ideal House district size of 79,462, here's the short(ed) list
- House 43, Cumberland (Elmer Floyd) - 36 percent below ideal population
- House 7, Nash and Halifax (Angela Bryant) - 25.2 percent below ideal population
- House 24, Wilson (Jean Farmer-Butterfield) - 21.8 percent below ideal
- House 12, Craven and Lenoir (William Wainwright) - 20 percent below ideal
All four of these seats are held by minority Democrats, and all four are majority-minority districts that were on the small side even in 2001, so they're likely to be protected to some extent by the federal Voting Rights Act. But the numbers still have to work out within 5 percent of the ideal.
A fifth district that's on the sparse side is House 86, Burke, held by Republican Hugh Blackwell. While 86 didn't actually lose population since 2000, it held pretty steady at 0.3 percent growth. So under the new, higher ideal, it'll be 19.4 percent short.