How Madison Cawthorn could represent Myers Park — and other things to know about new maps | WFAE 90.7

Updated at 3:27 p.m. Thursday

The North Carolina Senate announced late Wednesday that it would continue working on its map.

Original story:

The North Carolina General Assembly is expected to approve on Thursday a new congressional map and new state legislative maps drawn after the state Supreme Court ruled earlier this month the previous maps were unconstitutional gerrymanders to favor Republicans.

A three-judge panel has set a Friday deadline for the new maps, with the judges expected to make a decision on whether to accept them next week.

The state Senate drew a proposed Congressional map Wednesday, and then said it would make changes to that map, releasing a new map Thursday morning.

It’s unclear how much will change. Here is a look at some of the biggest changes between the maps passed at the end of 2021 and the new maps released Wednesday.

What is the partisan breakdown of the new congressional map compared to the old map?

The map passed at the end of 2021 favored Republicans in 10 of 14 seats. In a good year, they might have won 11 seats.

The map divided Mecklenburg, Wake and Guilford counties into three districts each, a move that diluted the strength of Democratic voters. The seat held by Democratic U.S. Rep. Kathy Manning in Greensboro was essentially eliminated. And a rural northeast seat that has historically elected AfricanAmerican representatives had Black voters shifted out of the district, making it more of a toss-up.

The new map is different. Republicans are clear favorites in seven seats, while the Democrats are clear favorites in four seats and have the edge in a fifth.

There are two toss-up seats.

One is in the Sandhills region around Fayetteville. Republicans are favored to win that seat by just 1 percentage point.

The other includes a large part of southwest Mecklenburg County and south Charlotte. It stretches west to Gaston, Cleveland and Rutherford counties. Donald Trump won that aera by less than 1 percentage point.

How does this impact Madison Cawthorn?

Cawthorn is the first-term GOP congressman from Henderson County who has generated controversy for extreme right-wing views.

Cawthorn today represents a heavily Republican district in the mountains. But last year, he announced he would run for reelection instead in the new (and now defunct) district that included Mecklenburg, Gaston and Cleveland counties.

One possible reason is that the new seat heavily favored a Republican, making it almost impossible for a Democrat to win.

But Cawthorn’s decision upset GOP lawmakers, who had drawn that seat for North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore, a Republican who lives in the Shelby area.

So when the court ordered the legislature to draw new maps, lawmakers added Democrats from Charlotte and removed Republicans from the district. There are now roughly 400,000 Mecklenburg residents in that new district, including those along West Boulevard, Steele Creek, South Park and Ballantyne. Trump won the newly redrawn 14th district by less than half of a percentage point.

North Carolina General Assembly

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Under a new map released Feb. 17, much of Mecklenburg County would be in the 14th U.S. House District.

Does Cawthorn return to his current district in the mountains? Or does he continue to run in the new 14th district?

What are the other changes to the map?

One is that Mecklenburg, Wake and Guilford counties are no longer split into three districts.

Manning, who represents the Greensboro area, had her seat restored in the map being debated this week.

A rural seat in the northeast part of the state that has historically been represented by an African American had been shifted into the toss-up category under map approved last year. Part of Pitt County has been returned to that district, making it more Democratic.

Orange County, perhaps the most liberal county in the state, is in a Republican district that stretches to Watauga County.

And the map doesn’t necessarily place incumbents in their district.

In Charlotte, Republican Dan Bishop lives in the new 14th district that includes Gaston, Cleveland and Rutherford counties. He is expected, however, to run in the new 9th District that closely resembles his current district. (Members of Congress don’t have to live in their districts.)

What about the state legislature?

In last year’s map, Democratic state Sen. Natasha Marcus had been placed into a district with Republican state Sen. Vickie Sawyer, a Republican from Iredell County. That made it extremely difficult for Marcus to stay in the Senate.

But the new map gives Marcus her own district in Mecklenburg, paving the way for her to win reelection.

And a seat in south Mecklenburg that had been drawn to give Republicans a chance at winning a Senate seat has been shift. The GOP still has a chance to win Senate District 42, which is being vacated by Jeff Jackson.

What are Republicans saying?

In a news release Wednesday, GOP Senate leaders said the new map is fair.

They said that Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper won 25 state Senate districts based on the 2020 election. In the map approved last year, they said he won 23.

“During the remedial map-drawing process we set out to draw maps that scored well based on the requirements of the Supreme Court’s order and included as many competitive districts as possible,” said GOP state Sen. Paul Newton of Cabarrus County. “We accomplished that. Our proposed remedial Senate map fully complies with the court’s order.”

A three-judge panel is supposed to receive the maps by Friday. They are scheduled to make a final decision by next week.



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