Rumors started flying late last week that the legislative Republicans in North Carolina were going to try again with a new map, and now that map has surfaced. (I'm not so sure about the title; given that it has all the old map's DNA, maybe it's more like version 1.1 than version 2.0.) At first I assumed they were going to try to take some steps that addressed the likely illegality
of the state's two VRA districts, NC-01 and NC-12. Ha! Once again my expectation that Republicans might make a sane effort to comply with the law was dashed by reality. Instead, they just made a variety of tweaks to screw NC-07's Blue Dog Dem Rep. Mike McIntyre -- who seemed likely to survive the original map -- a little harder.
For comparison's sake, here's the map that was floated on July 1:
As you can see, basically nothing happened with the western half of the state (including with NC-12, one of the nation's most heavily litigated districts in history, and which has reverted back to its full Charlotte-to-Greensboro worm-like form). The main changes are to the 7th and the 8th: the 7th loses all of socially-conservative but Dem-friendly Robeson County to the 8th, which just happens to be McIntyre's home turf. That puts him in the 8th against Larry Kissell. While I'd expect McIntyre to shrug and continue to run in the 7th, they've still also managed the feat of making both the 7th and 8th more Republican-leaning
, both moving from about 55% McCain to 57% (accomplished by giving some coastal counties in the 7th to Walter Jones' 3rd, and moving the 7th up through Raleigh's southern exurbs, including all of Johnston County, the big rhombus-shaped county just SE of Raleigh). Apparently, this was done with a GOP eye toward luring Johnston County-based state Sen. David Rouzer
to run in the 7th, where currently the GOP's best hope is damaged-goods '10 loser Ilario Pantano.
The other big move is that Brad Miller (currently in the 13th) and David Price (in the 4th) now find themselves drawn together into a dark-blue 4th. This might be done with an eye toward encouraging Miller to primary Price, rather than risking him run in a red 13th anyway. To accommodate that, G.K. Butterfield's 1st (the African-American majority district in the rural lowlands) now reaches into Durham, rather than Raleigh. With the exception of the Durham finger, though, the 1st looks a smidge more similar to the currently-existing 1st than on Map 1.0, so the GOP may have done that with a half-assed eye toward avoiding retrogression problems in NC-01 that the early-July map may have posed.
There's also some re-numbering of the Piedmont-area red districts on this new map: the geographic bulk of the old 13th (Miller's turf, shorn of its black anchors in Greensboro and Raleigh) becomes the 6th, the old 6th (old-timer Howard Coble's district) becomes the 2nd, and the old 2nd (the one picked up by GOP frosh Renee Ellmers) becomes the 13th. Worth noting: the old 13th/new 6th becomes a bit less red than the first draft map; it's only 54% McCain. Would that provide more encouragement to Miller to run there, even though his house isn't in the district anymore?