Hackney: Maps 'partisan hardball'

Posted July 14, 2011
Updated July 15, 2011

House Minority Leader Joe Hackney spoke out today about the GOP redistricting plans for statehouse and congressional districts, calling them "partisan hardball" and voicing skepticism about their odds of gaining approval from federal officials or the D.C. Circuit Court.

Hackney is one of twelve Democrats that have been drawn into districts with a fellow Democratic incumbent. But he didn't want to focus on that, aside from noting that he has a residence in Chatham County. The current proposal reshapes his district to exclude Hackney's Orange County home, throwing him into Democrat Verla Insko's district.  

"It's not about me. It’s about the map as a whole," Hackney said. "It’s a continuation of packing the minorities into minority districts far in excess of what is required by the Voting Rights Act for a partisan political advantage for the Republicans."

Asked whether the House plan targets Democratic caucus leaders, Hackney didn't disagree.

"Obviously, within Cumberland County, the two members [Ds Rick Glazier and Diane Parfitt] could have easily been separated – could perhaps still be," Hackney noted.  "The same thing in Asheville – easy to separate those two," he said of double-bunked Dems Susan Fisher and Patsy Keever.  

And the doubling up of former Judiciary 1 chair Deborah Ross and former Homeland Security chair Grier Martin in Wake County? "It’s just pure politics. Pure partisan hardball, partisan politics. That’s what that is,” Hackney said.

The former speaker didn't deny that both political parties generally try to give themselves an advantage as they re-draw voting maps.  “It’s a matter of following the law, and it’s a matter of degree. We have not seen this kind of partisanship in maps before in North Carolina, because we have not seen this kind of packing into African-American districts."

Hackney thinks the current plan will be found illegal because it increases the African-American voting population in a handful of legislative and congressional districts. In most of those districts, he said, African-American candidates are already being elected with 45-47% percent minority population. But Republicans are piling more African-American voters into those districts, anyway.  

According to Democrats, the proposed congressional map would sweep about 47% of the state's black voters into the three congressional districts where they already wield the most influence. "The net result of that doesn’t improve African-American election prospects at all - they’re winning already," Hackney said. "What it does is it minimizes the influence of African-Americans in surrounding districts.”

Hackney noted that similar strategies in other southern states have made African-American lawmakers a majority in Democratic caucuses, but a permanent political minority in the legislature.

Under the last round of redistricting a decade ago, Democrats came under fire for creating too few majority-minority districts. But Hackney thinks there's a balance to be struck. "What Democrats have tried to do over the years is to build African-American voting into the fabric of North Carolina, rather than segregating African-American voters," he said. "When you segregate the electorate, you change the politics of the state, and you change it for the worse."

The current proposal would make as many as 10 of the state's 13 congressional districts friendly ground for Republicans. Hackney is hoping the second draft of the maps, expected early next week, will be less partisan and more reflective of the state's divided political demographics. Hackney: Maps 'partisan hardball' Hackney: Maps 'partisan hardball'

"Under the maps prepared by Democrats, the Democrats won the last congressional election 7-6. It would be great if they gave themselves a small partisan advantage and came out with something that was 7-6 Republican. That would be fair,” Hackney said.

Watch the full interview at right. 


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  • driverkid3 Jul 19, 2011

    marktroll, I've read your posts on a number of these topics and have come to the conclusion that you tell it is. If we had a way to vote these comments up, I would vote yours up as many times as I could. I like you!

  • marktroll Jul 18, 2011

    no balzac- i have your posts on perdue articles where you are defending her with gov's office press releases. not to mention the whole budget debate, and the unemployment debates where you tote a very specific set of ideals that are, in fact, liberal.

    another phony trying to gain credibility by claiming they "were" a lifelong 'publican... LOL

  • BIlzac Jul 18, 2011

    It's funny that marktroll says I have a long list of liberal posts.

    Especially since I've been a registered and voting republican for 32 years.

    This is the kind of thing I was trying to get at. There is no room for disagreement in the current political climate - hence, our legislators find themselves both unable and unwilling to find compromise.

    If a lifelong republican can post on these threads and be called a liberal hack because he doesn't "toe the party line" on issues, no wonder our rep's in Raleigh and Washington find themselves unable to do anything but regurgitate the party talking points.

  • marktroll Jul 18, 2011

    former nc house speaker and democrat jim black was of the highest moral character and would never have sunken to the level of thom tillis.

  • javoholetz Jul 17, 2011

    Since when have North Carolina's liberal representation been of high moral character and against playing hardball? Can anyone remember how we got the state lottery? Mr. Hackney and his friends have built the field on which we now play. It's time he stop with the lies and take his swings.

  • driverkid3 Jul 15, 2011

    It's only "hardball" when the dems oppose it, just like with everything that has come up since the republicans took over. The dems have pulled so many disgusting tricks as far back as I can remember, NOW they want to denounce everything? Sorry, bubbas, the tables are turned and the shoe is on the other foot. You need to man up and deal with it. Stop the whining, it's very unbecoming.

  • ljohnson247 Jul 15, 2011

    We have asked ourselves and others many times, how would the Democrats have drawn the maps. They have bellyached and howled that the GOP did not draw the maps in a partisan manner. They want an outside agency to draw the maps. Why now. What we have come up with is, they had 140 years to eliminate the aspect of partisan gain. Did they, the answer is no. Man up and move on.

  • jpinsky Jul 15, 2011

    There is a way to do redistricting without the partisanship. The state of Iowa has done it for 40 years. It is in a bill, H824, passed by the NC House. The redistricting is done by professional staff and does not allow voter registration or election results to be used for redistricting

  • jamzwilkins Jul 15, 2011

    There is no such thing as a bipartisan/independent commission. They are like unicorns.

    This system we have is more directly reflective of the mandate by the people than leaving it in the hands of people that may/may not have a direct interest in the nuances of the North Carolina electorate.

  • marktroll Jul 15, 2011

    sounds good bilzac. after your team loses power for the first time in a long time, THEN its time to admit that its "past due" to move redistricting to an unbiased group. your argument is DOA bc you have a looooong list of lib-hack posts in this forum. LOL

    you know what im sick of? i am so sick of liberal dems selling out by saying that they are now just "tired of all politicians" as an attempt to gain credibility when complaining about the republican majority.