North Carolina lawmakers release revised maps. Here's what they look like
North Carolina's Republican-controlled legislature on Wednesday started voting on revised congressional and legislative maps. Here's a look at how they would change the balance of power.Posted — Updated
The party that controls the legislature is tasked with drawing state and congressional boundaries every 10 years. Because Republicans have majorities in the state House and Senate, they can pass maps along party lines.
House and Senate redistricting committee members passed their chambers' respective legislative maps. The House voted on the floor late Wednesday with Democratic support. The Senate approved in committee its chamber's legislative lines over Democrats' objections through a voice vote.
Here's a running list of redrawn congressional and legislative plans that have been floated thus far.
U.S. House maps
North Carolina state senators late Wednesday morning unveiled a congressional plan but said an updated map would be released ahead of a 9 a.m. meeting Thursday.
Asher Hildebrand, a Duke University political scientist and former Democratic operative, said the map the state senators were proposing early Wednesday would likely give Republicans a 9-5 advantage in 2022, up from the party's present 8-5 advantage and the possible 11-3 edge the GOP could have gotten if the November 2021 map had not been struck down.
Hildebrand and Michael Bitzer, a Catawba College redistricting expert, believed the 13th and 14th congressional districts in the proposed maps would be the most competitive.
In an analysis based on top 2020 statewide election results, Bitzer also found the 1st and 5th districts are somewhat competitive, but favor Democrats and Republicans, respectively. He considers the 14th the biggest toss-up.
Chris Cooper, who served as a witness for voting rights groups in a lower court redistricting hearing last month and teaches political science at Western Carolina University, expects Republicans to get a 9-6 or 8-5 advantage depending on which party wins the 14th district.
North Carolina state Rep. Destin Hall, a Republican leader on the House's redistricting committee, shared a proposed congressional map on Twitter late Tuesday that has since been submitted to his chamber.
The map, if approved, would give Democrats a modest boost heading into the 2022 election and stave off one of the party’s biggest fears: Republicans receiving substantially more power over them in the U.S. Congress and the North Carolina General Assembly.
Democrats would likely gain two more seats compared to the map Republicans approved in November 2021. Republicans would likely have a 9-5 edge over Democrats at most under Hall's plan, according to four redistricting experts.
Eric Heberlig of UNC-Charlotte, Bitzer, Cooper and Hildebrand expect Democrats to win the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 6th and 12th congressional districts under Hall's plan, while Republicans would likely win the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 13th districts.
The redistricting experts are divided on which party might capture the 8th and 14th districts.
Because Hall has not released precinct-level data, Bitzer said it is difficult to assess which way the swing districts lean.
State House maps
On Wednesday, North Carolina House Republicans approved a plan in a redistricting committee by a 12-7 vote that would give Republicans a narrower chance of regaining a supermajority in the chamber. The full House approved the map later in the day.
Analyses from Bitzer and Hildebrand show Republicans would need to win somewhere between 71% and 90% of state House races they view as competitive.
According to Bitzer, Republicans likely have a 54-46 edge over Democrats before 20 competitive districts are taken into account. Sixty votes are needed to capture a majority of the 120 state House seats, while 72 are necessary for a veto-proof supermajority.
Hildebrand gives Republicans a 55-41 advantage before 24 competitive seats are factored in.
In a state that is nearly evenly split politically, Democrats would need to win 20 of the 24 swing districts to capture a simple majority, or 83%, according to Hildebrand. Meanwhile, Republicans would need to win one-fourth of the tight races.
Republicans currently hold a 69-51 seat advantage in the House.
The state House was also expected to hold a floor vote late Wednesday to remedy concerns Democrats had with the initial map.
Maps from state senators were released late Wednesday morning and approved by the chamber's redistricting committee over Democrats' objections in the evening. Hildebrand said he expects the Senate's plan will result in a 28-22 map favorable to Republicans, which mirrors the party's current representation.
Bitzer said the proposed Senate map includes 22 districts likely to go to Republicans, 18 expected to go to Democrats and 10 seats up for grabs. Of the 10 competitive races, Bitzer believes six are more favorable to Democrats while four favor Republicans based on 2020 election results.
Hildebrand believes the Senate's plan is likely to remain at 28-22 under the proposed map.
"Zero democrats are double-bunked in this map," GOP Sen. Paul Newton said in a Wednesday redistricting committee hearing.
Berger, North Carolina's top Senate Republican, said a bipartisan deal on a legislative map for the chamber was not reached with Democratic leader Dan Blue.
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