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New legislative voting maps strike Democratic women

Posted February 9, 2012
Updated February 10, 2012

Voting map

— Women Democrats in the General Assembly were hit hardest by new maps of legislative voting districts, but Republicans insisted Thursday that gender wasn't a factor in the way they drew the maps.

The maps placed two of the three Democratic women in the Senate in districts with other incumbents. The tactic is called "double-bunking," and it's often used to force lawmakers to retire.

So far, six female Democrats have announced plans to retire: Sen. Linda Garrou of Forsyth County and Reps. Jennifer Weiss of Wake County, Diane Parfitt of Cumberland County, Alice Bordsen of Alamance County, Edith Warren of Pitt County and Patsy Keever of Buncombe County.

Candidate filing opens next Monday, and more female lawmakers are expected to not seek re-election. 

"Many of them were double-bunked. Many of them were drawn into districts that were so unwinnable that it began to be a real threat to this whole process of women in the legislature," said Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, D-Orange.

Kinnaird's redrawn district pits her against fellow Democrat Bob Atwater. She said she plans to run for re-election, but it's unclear whether Atwater will oppose her in the May 8 primary. 

In the House, eight of the 22 Democratic women were double bunked, and the districts of four others were drawn in such a way to make them more difficult for a Democrat to win. GOP voting maps hit Dem women hardest GOP voting maps hit Dem women hardest

By comparison, only 24 percent of men in the House – Democrat or Republican – were double-bunked.

GOP voting maps hit Dem women hardest GOP voting maps hit Dem women hardest

No Republican women were double-bunked in the House.

Carol Teal, director of Lillian's List, a political group for Democratic women, said Republican mapmakers went out of their way to double-bunk women.

"Women were targeted. They were deliberately targeted," Teal said. "I can understand why they'd want to get rid of all these progressive women who were champions for education and women's reproductive rights. All the cuts that (the General Assembly) made disproportionately affected women."

Rep. David Lewis, the chairman of the House Redistricting Committee, said lawmakers were targeted in the maps because of their politics, not their gender.

"It's truly an absurd accusation that in any way women were targeted," said Lewis, R-Harnett. "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. The only explanation they can come up with is to try to play some kind of victim role."

Lillian's List is ready to field new female Democratic candidates in November, Teal said.

"Women are mad. They're angry, and they're ready to go," she said.

14 Comments

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  • sillywabbitthepatriot Feb 10, 4:17 p.m.

    "This does not fairly represent the people"

    Not all Democrats are liberal minded. While there might be more Democrats in NC, many are still conservatives and will vote Republican.

    LOL. A Democrat whines about fairness after districts have returned to normal.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Feb 10, 3:26 p.m.

    This is another reason that people think that Republicans are bad, evil people...

    NC has 42% MORE Democrats than Republicans in NC. (44% Dems vs. 31% Repubs).

    NC’s current representation was 7 Dems & 6 Repubs.

    When the Repubs are done changing NC's district maps, representation will be 3 Dems and 10 Repubs.

    This does not fairly represent the people. Clearly that "do unto others" thing isn't important to Repubs.

  • sillywabbitthepatriot Feb 10, 2:56 p.m.

    I voted for change in 2010 and lookie what happened!!!!

  • jeffjohnson123 Feb 10, 11:00 a.m.

    OMG someone must be stretching for news on a slow day. Now they are reporting rampant conjecture as news.
    Just the facts, please. If I want yellow journalism there are many other sources.
    Personally, I think the maps were redrawn to help members of the Audubon Society have more access to their interests.
    Or maybe it was to redistribute public parks equally amoung all districts.
    OMG, would someone put some sanity back into this 'news?' agency?

  • MakoII Feb 10, 10:59 a.m.

    Ahhh, some good ol' fashioned gender prejudice.

    Much nicer than the multitude of boys being taught by 90%+ women in k-12 and put on drugs because they act like boys. Much nicer than the colleges who still try to recruit women as if they are disadvantaged minorities, when they are matriculated in higher numbers and graduate in higher numbers.

    Everywhere you turn there's some sweet gender prejudice, so take your pick!

  • curiousgeorgia Feb 10, 10:30 a.m.

    Concerning redistricting and census:

    http://www.ncleg.net/gis/randr07/Overview.html

  • bill0 Feb 10, 10:17 a.m.

    "Most of the redistricting came about because of the change in population patterns recorded by the US CENSUS.
    "

    Actually, that isn't true. We had to redistrict by law. The choices made in redistricting had much more to do with politics than population changes. Just think about it for a minute. Where are all the new people coming from? Conservative states or liberal states? Democratic registration is way up compared to republican. This state is getting more liberal, not more conservative.

  • marthanjenkins Feb 10, 10:04 a.m.

    For you to slant this story as Republicans being anti-woman is even more evidence that you are a shrill for the Democrat party. These women were liberal Democrats first, women second. Just one example: Rep. Jennifer Weiss would not even let Jessica's Law be heard in her committee because Jim Black didn't want it to go anywhere. As a mother you would have thought that her primary goal would have been to keep sexual predators away from children. Moreover, many Democrats in office, including these women, only had seats because of the Democrat time-honored tradition of gerrymandering and "double bunking" or whatever you want to call it. Now that the shoe's on the other foot, you cry foul. There are also Republican women not running again and you didn't even mention them. PLEASE strive to be more balanced!

  • curiousgeorgia Feb 10, 10:00 a.m.

    This person from Lillian's List has no right to presume she speaks for all women, and what arrogance besides! So, Republican women aren't considered women, and they don't have a say? Sounds like discrimination to me.

    Most of the redistricting came about because of the change in population patterns recorded by the US CENSUS.

    I get so fed up with the Dems (Republicans, too, betimes, but not this time.)

  • bill0 Feb 10, 9:13 a.m.

    "Boo hoo... sour grapes! The Democrats have enjoyed over 100yrs of gerrymandering district lines to ensure their control over our state."

    Actually, there are a lot more registered democrats in NC than registered republicans. That means that in any fairly drawn map, democrats should have a majority of "likely" seats. That is how democracy is supposed to work.

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