The Congressional redistricting maps proposed by Republican leaders would split Wake County between four districts, while statewide the GOP could pick up as many as four seats now held by Democrats.
Democratic Congressman Brad Miller's district would be dramatically re-aligned from a heavily Democratic district to a Republican-leaning district, reports The N&O's Rob Christensen.
"We believe that our proposed Congressional plan fully complies with applicable federal and state law," said state GOP redistricting chairs Sen. Bob Rucho and Rep. David Lewis, in a joint statement. "We also believe that a majority of North Carolinians will agree that our proposed plan will establish Congressional districts that are fair to North Carolina voters."
If you have a resonable level of sophistication with computers, you can access an online district viewer that allows you to drill down to see the proposed lines at the street level. Once the viewer is launched, check the box marked "Rucho-Lewis Congress 1" under the tab "District Plans."
According to John Davis, editor of the John Davis Report, Democratic registration in the 13th district would plummet from 51 percent to 41 percent, while Republican registration would increase from 26 percent to 37 percent. Stokes and Surry Counties, both reliably Republican Counties have been added to Miller's district.
Reliably Democratic precincts in Guilford County have been removed, Davis reports. Conservative districts in northern Alamance, northern Orange and northern Durham counties have been added.
The Republicans proposed new congressional maps will likely mean that the GOP will pick up the seats held by Miller, Larry Kissell, and Health Shuler, while making it difficult for Democrat Mike McIntyre to hang on to his seat.
“Under the new congressional districts released today, the partisan advantage will immediately shift from 7 Democrats and 6 Republican to 8 Republican and only 3 guaranteed Democratic districts, with 2 that will depend on the strengths of the candidates and the prevailing partisan winds of the given election year,” Davis writes.
Among the surprises of the maps is there is no double bunking. All of the incumbents would be kept in their current districts. And there would be no third black majority district created.
The Republicans have apparently decided that 4th District Democrat David Price of Chapel Hill is too strongly positioned to be targeted.
If anything, Price emerges in the new redistricting map with a more Democratic district. A number of precincts in Southern Wake County that have a history of voting Republican have been taken out of his district and been moved to Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers district to try to buttress her re-election prospects, according to Davis.
The state's two African-American congressmen, G.K. Butterfield and Mel Watt, also emerged with strong Democratic districts.
The GOP plan has moved to weaken McIntyre's 7th District, moving two counties with a history of voting Republican, Onslow and Carteret, from the 3rd district of Republican Walter Jones.
Democratic friendly parts of Cumberland, Duplin and Robeson counties have been taken out of the district. McIntyre is expected to be challenged Republican Illario Pantano, who he defeated last year.
The district has 9 percent fewer Democrats, but Davis said that McIntyre still has “a fighting chance” to win re-election. But the realignment to include Camp Lejune in the district could boost Pantano, a former Marine.
In the 8th District, long considered the biggest swing district in the state, the new GOP plan make it much less friendlier for two-term Democrat Kissell.
It adds parts of three strong Republican counties, Randolph, Davidson, and Rowan, while taking out Democratic leaning areas of Mecklenburg County. It has gone from a district that voted 52 percent for President Barack Obama in 2008 to a district that voted 44 percent for Obama that year, according to Davis.
The Republicans are also making life difficult for Shuler. They have moved Republican leaning counties Mitchell, Caldwell and Avery Counties into the 11th district, while moving out half of Democratic leaning Buncombe County into Republican Patrick Henry's 10th district.
The Republican plan also moves to bolster freshman Renee Ellmers of the 3rd District, who last November defeated Democratic Rep. Bob Etheridge. Ellmers was given all of Sampson County, a reliably Republican County, but she will no longer represent Franklin or Nash County precincts. The district has gone from 51 percent Democrat and 28 percent Republican to 39 percent Democrat and 36 percent Republican.