Elections

Maps drawn to fix NC gerrymandering would help Democrats in these districts

North Carolina’s contorted history of congressional redistricting

Federal judges recently ruled that Republicans unconstitutionally gerrymandered two North Carolina congressional districts by race. But redrawing districts to benefit the political party in power is nothing new and has been going on for years.
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Federal judges recently ruled that Republicans unconstitutionally gerrymandered two North Carolina congressional districts by race. But redrawing districts to benefit the political party in power is nothing new and has been going on for years.

The maps proposed by a third-party expert would make it easier for Democrats to defeat Republican incumbents in four House races and two Senate races, based on an analysis of 2016 election results in the proposed districts.

Nathaniel Persily, the “special master” hired by federal judges to propose alternative maps, recently released his draft proposal and is expected to issue a final proposal by Dec. 1.

The N.C. Insider analyzed election results from the 2016 governor's race to determine how the partisan tilt of each district changed from the August maps approved by the legislature to Persily’s draft proposal. In the Senate:

  • The August plan gives Sen. Wesley Meredith, a Cumberland County Republican, a safe Republican seat that voted about 53 percent for Republican Pat McCrory last year. But under Persily's map, Meredith’s new district is a nearly evenly split between the parties – 49 percent picked McCrory, while 48.8 percent voted for Democrat Roy Cooper.
  • In Guilford County, Republican Sen. Trudy Wade would shift from a district with a slight Republican tilt (McCrory won by 1.7 percentage points) to a district with a slight Democratic tilt (Cooper won by 0.8 percentage points) – and Wade would be in the same district as Democratic Sen. Gladys Robinson, leaving an open seat in a heavily Democratic district in Greensboro.

Persily’s plan would give Democrats a greater advantage in two House races in Wake County and two House races in Mecklenburg County:

  • Rep. Chris Malone, a Wake County Republican, is in a district under the August plan that had nearly a tie vote between Cooper and McCrory in 2016. The Persily maps put Malone in a district that favored Cooper by 1.8 percentage points.
  • Rep. Nelson Dollar, a Wake Republican and the lead House budget writer, has a Republican-leaning district in the August plan, but Persily’s plan has him in a district that Cooper carried by about 7 percentage points.
  • Persily’s plan creates a safer seat for Rep. Linda Williams, a Wake Republican, tilting further Republican than her district in the August plan.
  • In Mecklenburg, Republican Reps. Andy Dulin and Scott Stone would face tougher re-election battles under the special master's plan. Dulin’s new district in the August plan already leaned Democratic, but the Persily plan has him in a district that Cooper won by 3.5 percentage points. And Stone goes from a district in the August plan that McCrory won by 0.4 percentage points to a district in the Persily plan that Cooper won by 1.2 percentage points.

Colin Campbell: 919-829-4698, @RaleighReporter

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