GOP’s second crack at N.C. redistricting map even more perilous for Democrats
By Aaron Blake,
A new redistricting map proposed by the North Carolina Republican Party would continue to seriously endanger Democratic Reps. Heath Shuler, Mike McIntyre, Brad Miller and Larry Kissell.
Unlike the state GOP’s first proposal, though, this one puts McIntyre’s and Miller’s homes into other members’ districts. Furthermore, it would make both McIntyre’s and Kissel’s even more Republican than before.
According to numbers obtained by The Fix, under the new plan both McIntyre’s 7th district and Kissell’s 8th district would both have gone about 57 percent for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the 2008 presidential race. Under the first proposal, the districts would have gone 55 percent for McCain.
The new map also would likely force McIntyre — perhaps the toughest of the four targets for Republicans to defeat — to move into the new 7th to run for reelection. And Miller, who is drawn into Rep. David Price’s (D-N.C.) district, would also face a tough reelection decision.
In the end, the map appears to be even better for the GOP than the first map proposed (details on that map here), concentrating more Republicans into the vulnerable Democrats’ districts while putting more Democratic voters in non-competitive districts.
Republicans said they made the changes in response to concerns raised by Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) that his majority-black district may not meet the requirements set forth by the Voting Rights Act. Because of this, Butterfield’s safe Democratic district would become even more Democratic than the first proposal, allowing Republicans to put even more of their voters in other districts.
Miller’s district would actually become a little bit more Democratic than in the first proposal, too, but still considerably more Republican than its current configuration. Under the new map, Miller’s district would go from a seat that went 40 percent for McCain in 2008 to one that would have given McCain 54 percent of the vote two years ago.
Miller’s district would experience the biggest changes under the plan, but Kissell, McInytre and Shuler would all get several points more Republican as well. All four would become among the national GOP’s top targets for the 2012 election.
North Carolina has long been considered the GOP’s prize pig when it comes to redistricting. In no other state where Republicans control the redistricting process can they imperil so many seats currently held by Democrats as in the Tarheel State.