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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:

North Carolina map
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?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Miller is way too liberal to be winning 46% Obama (7+ / 0-)


  •  NC1 changes (4+ / 0-)

    it was 52/39 on RLC1, and it's now 54/37 on RLC2.

    President: 10-3 McCain
    Governor: 8-5 McCrory (Perdue won the 3rd and 7th)
    Senate: 10-3 Dole

    Hagan comes within 1% in the 6th and 7th.

    The 6th might be slightly too blue in that form. I don't think they can totally depend on the Obama/McCain stats for Congressional races. Same for the 3rd.

    The Republican Party isn't a party of small government, it's a party of a government for the few. @bhindepmo

    by RBH on Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 12:32:57 PM PDT

  •  I'll repost what I said in the live digest: (5+ / 0-)

    They've definitively screwed Miller, Shuler, and Kissell, and McIntyre's district is made 2 points more Republican.  He'll still be able to win though, it still has a competitive Dem avg, but without his base in Robeson county he's pretty vulnerable.  I'd say his district is about Lean D though, same as their first draft map.

    The main differences with this map are the 3rd, 13th, and 6th in terms of partisan effects.

    The 3rd would be very competitive if Walter Jones retired since it's Dem avg is in the high 40s and there are a lot of conservadems there.  Jones has a lot of crossover appeal and should be pretty safe though.

    The new 13th is going to be an open seat and will trend Dem over time, but I don't really see us taking it before 2016 at the earliest since it's still around R+10, but it will eventually be competitive.

    Their proposed 6th district makes me think Coble is getting the shaft; many of the announced candidates for the 13th still live in Coble's district and he takes in a lot of new territory.  That coupled with his age, health, and inexperience running tough campaigns leads me to believe he's either A) retiring, or B) doesn't have many friends in the state leg and is going to get primaried.

    The 9th will also trend Dem, but Myrick is pretty safe and doesn't seem to be planning on retiring soon.

    Overall they did an atrociously excellent job at 9-3-1, and the new 1st looks legal.  The only thing I can see that would get this map in trouble is the 12th, but I really don't see the conservative majority on the supreme court striking it down.

  •  Wow (8+ / 0-)

    The GOP really let loose on this map. More so than I expected, so clearly I underestimated their malevolence.

    Miller really needed to get districting into the Fourth. Now he has as legitimate a claim to the district as did Price and the latter was considered likely to run for just one more term anyhow. I seriously doubt there's any chance of a primary battle. They will probably reach an amicable agreement for Miller to run since he has a far longer future in politics than Price.

    McIntyre will have a somewhat interesting decision to make. There are pros and cons to either the NC-08 or the NC-07 district, but I imagine Kissell will run in the NC-08 and McIntyre in the NC-07. Both of them have tougher prospects under this map.

    That NC-03 district will probably be a tossup if Jones retires, but who knows when that'll be.

    As for NC-01 and NC-12, those will almost surely produce Shaw challenges. I'd imagine a Section 2 packing challenge will also be likely, at least with NC-12. It'll be interesting to see how that ends up.

    Insofar as Section 5 retrogression, there are still questions about NC-01 in my mind, but the more promising avenue may now involve the Section 5 counties in NC-06 and NC-08. That may well produce a test case with regard to retrogression in non-majority-minority districts.

    •  So explain this to me... (0+ / 0-)

      Is this any worse than what the Dems did to the Republicans in Illinois (I'm asking, honestly). If it's not any worse, than why would this map be vulnerable to a court challenge, but Illinois was not?

    •  What do you think of (0+ / 0-)

      McIntyre's and Kissell's respective chances?  Also, those threatening to sue are not going to back down, are they?

      Ad hoc, ad loc and quid pro quo! So little time, so much to know!

      by KingofSpades on Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 08:09:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KingofSpades, davybaby

        To answer your second question, every indication is that the lawsuits will proceed, and in my view at least there are still some definite Section 5 issues with the map. Congressman Miller for one is already on record as saying that he believes the new maps are still illegal, and this also changes nothing with regard to the NC-12 district and Congressman Watt's view on that.

        The NC-08 district has become 2% worse for Dems across the board. They basically did that by slightly weakening the NC-09 GOP performance (Myrick's district) and that of the now-open NC-13 district (which doesn't adjoin NC-08, but permits them to hold up the GOP performance of NC-02 & NC-06 while shifting a net 1% more Republicans to NC-08). In short, what was already a tough climb for Kissell became slightly tougher. It's not an impossible district for a Democrat, but it's gonna be a tough hold.

        The reconfigured NC-07 district is fairly brutal for Dems. The short of it is that if McIntyre is to hold the district he will do so much in the way that Chet Edwards and Gene Taylor held their districts. In other words, he will be doing so very much against the grain of the district, which would not have been the case in the NC-07 district that was on the first GOP map. McIntyre is certainly the kind of Dem who is suited to buck the partisan leanings of his district, but it's tough to say whether he will actually be able to do so since the district is now so different. Onslow & Carteret are at least as inhospitable to Dems as Johnston County, but they were a better fit with his old district.

        •  Can a court file an injunction against this (0+ / 0-)

          or does that not happen with VRA cases?

          Ad hoc, ad loc and quid pro quo! So little time, so much to know!

          by KingofSpades on Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 09:00:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            KingofSpades, bear83

            If you mean a preliminary injunction that's certainly an option, although it's fairly rare. There's plenty of time to get a full court ruling before what is generally considered the effective deadline for a North Carolina map to be in place by February 2012.

            Let me also be clear that in my view this map still very much features illegal retrogression with regard to the Section 5 counties that are in the proposed NC-08 and NC-06 districts. I obviously did not make much issue of them before because the NC-01 case was so clear-cut on the previous proposal, but that's hardly the only issue in my view.

            •  What do you think (0+ / 0-)

              will be the final outcome of all of this?

              Ad hoc, ad loc and quid pro quo! So little time, so much to know!

              by KingofSpades on Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 09:33:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Highly speculative... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                davybaby, andgarden, KingofSpades

                I think that this map is unnecessarily retrogressive and that it will more likely than not be denied preclearance. Of the forty Section 5 counties, at least ten are unequivocally worse off in my view. It would not be tough to draw a less retrogressive map with regard to any of them.

                That said, it's still very unclear how Section 5 will be enforced during this redistricting cycle. I think the guidelines are rather straightforward, but if the DOJ is not inclined to be aggressive then who knows.

                The law is so convoluted and inscrutable with regard to racial gerrymanders (Shaw, Cromartie, etc) that it could go either way on that front. My feeling is that the Supreme Court will be far more averse to racial gerrymanders than it was in the O'Connor era. However, it would almost surely take a couple years before a case makes it all the way up to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, I think the lower courts are likely to be highly deferential to the legislatures.

                In my view, NC-12 clearly crosses the line into racial gerrymander, but I thought the same of the 1997 & 2001 versions. I can only base my conjecture on my reading of the dissent in those cases, and that's a very perilous way of prediction legal outcomes. I also don't think the latest NC-01 version is "narrowly tailored" to avoid retrogression (which is evident enough in the fact that my alternative map was more compact and easily achieved the same goals).

                So, I don't feel that I can reliably predict the outcome of either case, but I can say that I think the odds are better than even that NC-12 will be struck down and better than even that NC-01 will be upheld.

              •  PS (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                bear83, davybaby, andgarden, KingofSpades

                And let there be no doubt that the ideal outcome for Democrats would be for the map to be denied preclearance due to retrogression in the Section 5 counties that are currently in the NC-13 and NC-08 districts. The Republicans can get around a Shaw ruling but they can't get around having to put those counties back into districts with an equal or greater minority percentage than they have currently.

    •  Awesome (and depressing) diary... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...and comments. This is a trivial question amidst the informed conversation here, but I figure who would know better?

      Where can I find maps of the proposed redistricting plans with street-level detail? My google search hasn't been effective.

      I'm in central Raleigh and really pissed off at the thought of losing Miller as our rep.


  •  I still think the GOP was better off with 9-4 (3+ / 0-)

    and turning Fayetteville/Robeson County into a Dem vote sink for 2 main reasons.

    1) I don't think they will be able to beat McIntyre in anything other than a 2010 type wave.

    2) They left the 6th and 13th vulnerable to the right type of Dem, and both districts plus the 9th vulnerable to demographic changes. Furthermore, the 3rd is very vulnerable (i.e. a tossup) if Jones Retires/loses a primary.

    I would be very surprised if Dems didn't win 5 seats for 1 if not 2 cycles this decade.

    •  The 8th too (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      James Allen, KingofSpades

      It has some interesting down-ballot stats. A few Dems won or were basically even where you would not expect based on the top-line results. It's also worth noting that the Perdue figures are somewhat deceptive because, as mayor of Charlotte, McCrory performed disproportionately well in this region.

  •  Reflecting on this (0+ / 0-)

    I really wish the Illinois Dems had gone the extra length to secure an extra downstate district. It would only have required some slightly uglier lines.

    Ok, so I read the polls.

    by andgarden on Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 03:51:05 PM PDT

  •  I'm a bit worried about (0+ / 0-)

    the 2nd district. Not anytime soon mind you, but as we get closer to say 2018 or so. The parts of Chatham and Wake they added are trending blue, and are pretty close to the Research Triangle. However, it does have very strong Republican areas in Harnett, Randolph, and home county of Moore. Lee is R, but not as strong as the other 3, and Cumberland could be interesting, but I think the outter areas of Cumberland will trend R due to the influx of soldiers.

    DKE! “Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul.” anonymous

    by aggou on Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 09:05:01 PM PDT

  •  Miller has an apartment in Raleigh (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Iberian, MichaelNY

    that's barely inside the new NC-4. He's looking at options for moving to the new NC-13. Of course, that depends on where the lines ultimately end up.

    "There is no possibility that David Price and I would run against each other," Miller said.  "We've been good friends and allies for a long time."  

    According to Miller, he'd only need to move 50 yards or so to be back in the 13th. He says Republicans split Raleigh voting precinct 36 "to shave off the apartment complex where I live. The rest of the precinct is still in 13. My apartment complex is in 4."

    "America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves." — Abraham Lincoln

    by bear83 on Wed Jul 20, 2011 at 06:52:28 AM PDT

  •  NC10: Asheville is going to lose its mind. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Shuler was bad enough, but at least he had some compassion and good sense when it came to the needs of working people and the elderly.

    Now the GOP is preparing to draw the deep-blue city of Asheville (pop. 83,318) into the 10th district, home of that infamous slime-slathered bag of butt biscuits, Pat McHenry. Of NC's 13 congress members, only Virginia Foxx can match McHenry in naked partisanship and vitriol.

    "Chainsaw" Charlie Taylor may have been completely evil, but he knew how to play and quiet. Conversely, McHenry is a loudmouthed prick who loves to pillory Democrats and demonize liberals. Pat just picked up tens of thousands of progressive Democrats. His next race is going to get way more expensive.

    "Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well- warmed, and well-fed." — Herman Melville

    by Spiffarino on Wed Jul 20, 2011 at 08:40:36 AM PDT

    •  It's not like (0+ / 0-)

      they received Hitler for a congressman. Chillax dude.

      DKE! “Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul.” anonymous

      by aggou on Thu Jul 21, 2011 at 02:40:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There's no "renumbering" (0+ / 0-)

    Miller lives in Raleigh, Elmers in southern Wake, and Coble in Greensboro.  Miller is a block away from the 13th, and Elmers is still in the 2nd, and Coble still in the 6th.  The hinterlands just shifted.

  •  Dem strategy in NC now (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KingofSpades, MichaelNY

    The old strategy of the Dem General Assembly, which generally didn't do progressives any favors, was to create the 1st and the 12th, try to make the 2nd, 7th, 8th, and 11th winnable by a conservadem, and let the 4th, and 13th split up the deep blue parts of the Triangle.

    The GOP strategy here seems to be to cram as many Democrats as they possibly can into the 4th, 1st, and 12th, then hold on to a manageable majority everywhere else.  That's an insanely bold plan -- 2008 proved that NC is almost perfectly purple right now, and getting bluer every year.

    What's perfectly true is that the four of the seven seats currently held by Democrats, plus the 2nd that was sure to go back to the Dems if it stayed the same in 2012, have all gotten harder to win.  Some of this is a result of making the 1st and 4th even deeper blue than they already were.  However, some of it is by moving Democrats into what are currently safe Republican districts.

    The proper response for the NC Democratic party is to find strong challengers to Myrick and Coble for good form, but particularly to challenge Foxx and McHenry, whose districts have gotten less red in these maps.  The GOP has been able to hold these seats in the past despite them being populated by complete nutcases, and the NC Dems have basically ignored their districts, putting no effort into organizing there.  It's time to organize in those districts; we won't win all of them, but we'll win some of them.  Democrats should be able to hold onto at least 5-6 seats in NC in the short term with an aggressive strategy.

    •  Rephrasing (0+ / 0-)
      Democrats should be able to hold onto at least 5-6 seats in NC in the short term with an aggressive strategy.

      I think you mean "There's hope the Democrats might be able to hold onto at least 5-6 seats with an aggressive strategy." "Should" means to me greater than a 50/50 chance.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Thu Jul 21, 2011 at 03:21:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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