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McHenry Expects Republicans To Consider Race In Redrawing Districts

Republican 10th District Congressman Patrick McHenry is getting a lot of attention for comments he made last week about redistricting. He told Politico that race will be a factor in redrawing congressional districts. Here's an excerpt: "It's politically probable that there will be a new minority influence district. It's logical based on the demographics of our state," said Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), who has become the point man in Congress for the state's redistricting. McHenry and other North Carolina Republicans defend their redistricting efforts, saying the Tar Heel State's booming population and the surge in Republican voters - not to mention the fact that Democrats drew the current districts - justify a new map that could give the state nine Republicans and four Democrats in Congress. "Republicans should pick up three seats under any fair and legal map," McHenry said. "That is huge. No other states in the nation would gain as many Republican seats. This would be in a state that Barack Obama won in 2008 and where we have had a Democratic governor since 1992 - the longest such period in the nation. A 9-4 delegation is pretty good and would attempt to avoid the risk of a bad year for Republicans. Clearly, Reps. Kissell and Miller are serving their final term." Columnist Jack Betts of the Charlotte Observer writes here that McHenry's comments show that an independent panel should be in charge of redistricting, not the politicians in power. When politicians pick their voters rather than allowing voters to choose their politicians, you get officeholders practically salivating on ways to put the opposition at a disadvantage. It's nothing new. The Democrats did it when they were in charge, and Republicans fought them like crazy. Now that Republicans are in charge of redrawing districts for the state's 13 congressional seats and the 170 state House and Senate seats, the GOP will seek the most advantageous maps and the Democrats will scream red bloody murder. It's a decennial ritual.