GOP unveils draft map of NC congressional districts

Posted July 1, 2011 4:02 a.m. EDT
Updated July 1, 2011 6:59 p.m. EDT

— Legislative leaders released their North Carolina congressional district boundaries on Friday, reflecting Republican control of the General Assembly.

Boundaries are being adjusted for the additional 1.5 million people now in the state compared to 2000.

Major changes in the Triangle include District 4, which is represented by Democratic Congressman David Price, Republican Congresswoman Renee Ellmers' District 2, Congressman Brad Miller's District 13 and Congressman G.K. Butterfield's District 1.

District 4 now includes all of Orange and Durham counties and much of western and southern Wake County and eastern Chatham County. Under the proposed revisions, it would lose the northern half of Orange and Durham counties to District 13 and its southern Wake County territory to District 2.

The new map would have District 4 snaking through eastern Chatham and central Harnett counties into Fayetteville.

District 2, meanwhile, now encompasses portions of 10 counties, from Sampson in the south to Vance in the north and west to Chatham. The proposed map would consolidate that territory into all of Sampson and Johnston counties and parts of Wake, Harnett, Cumberland and Wayne counties.

Harnett County would be split among three districts under the new map – Republican Rep. Howard Coble's District 6 would take in the western third. The county is currently all within District 2.

District 1, which sprawls across northeastern North Carolina, would take in eastern Franklin County and dip into eastern Wake County.

District 13 would lose part of its Wake County territory under the proposal and spread west through the Virginia border counties, adding Stokes and Surry counties. The move could hurt Miller's re-election chances since those counties are more Republican.

GOP lawmakers get to draw districts that should help their candidates and hurt Democratic incumbents. Democrats currently have a 7-6 advantage in the state's delegation.

Democratic Congressman Heath Shuler would lose Asheville and pick up solidly Republican mountain counties under the proposed map, while fellow Democratic Congressman Mike McIntyre would pick up Republican neighborhoods around Camp Lejeune and lose Democratic areas near Fayetteville.

Unlike the last two rounds of redistricting, North Carolina didn't grow fast enough to gain a 14th House seat.

The House and Senate redistricting committee will hold a public hearing next week to get reaction. The Republican-led Legislature wants to approve congressional and legislative districts by the end of July.