Two sets of GOP-drawn plans for electoral districts won approval from a Senate committee today. Democrats didn't like either of them.
The legislature is scheduled to vote on redistricting plans next week.
The Senate committee meetings were marked by tense exchanges, including an argument between Sen. Tom Apodaca, a Hendersonville Republican, and Senate Minority Leader Martin Nesbitt of Asheville over whether their cities get along.
The Senate committee approved a plan for 13 congressional districts and 50 state Senate districts after rejecting a change proposed by Nesbitt that would have keep Asheville from being split between two congressional districts.
Nesbitt said it was clear from public comments that people in Asheville want to be represented by one congressperson.
Republicans said they decided Asheville would get better representation with two.
"We treated Asheville like every other urban center," said Sen. Andrew Brock, a Mocksville Republican.
In drawing the state's 13 congressional districts, GOP map-makers gathered 49 percent of the state's African-American residents into three districts - the 1st, the 4th, and the 12th.
Sen. Floyd McKissick, a Durham Democrat, asked how the 4th District, where Chapel Hill Democratic Rep. David Price is the incumbent, was created. The existing district, which McKissick called "exceptionally compact," now includes all of Orange and Durham Counties, southern and western Wake County and northeast Chatham.
It would change to meander across seven counties, including parts of Alamance and Wake and thread into Cumberland County, with a river basin connecting the territory as it runs from from Chatham into Harnett.
One of the criteria used to draw districts is keeping together "communities of interest," and McKissick asked what rural Alamance had in common with downtown Durham or downtown Raleigh.
Brock said the "communities of interest" is one of the least important factors, falling behind federal law and court rulings.
"Almost every district is pretty diverse," Brock said.