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NC Senate picks congressional map that likely adds three GOP seats

One of the proposed Congressional maps filed Wednesday
N.C. General Assembly
One of the proposed Congressional maps filed Wednesday

A state Senate committee approved new congressional districts Monday that would likely help Republicans gain at least three additional seats next year.

Senate Republicans considered two options for redrawing the congressional map for the 2024 election. On Monday, they didn't move forward with a second map that observers considered to be a more aggressive gerrymander.

That proposal would likely have guaranteed Republicans would hold 11 of the state's 14 seats in Congress. It would have done so by packing Democrats into a district that would stretch from Chapel Hill to Greenville. The other map, which the Senate plans to vote on Tuesday afternoon, could still result in 11 Republican seats.

Ahead of Monday's committee vote, the Senate's redistricting committee tweaked the new congressional districts in the eastern part of the state to ensure that the Marine Corps' Camp Lejeune and its air station in Havelock share the same member of Congress.

Sen. Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell and chairman of the committee, said he "received feedback on Thursday from some of our members who live in and around the military bases of a desire to have the bases united as much as possible in the eastern district of this map." The map still splits Fort Liberty in Fayetteville, formerly known as Fort Bragg, into multiple congressional districts.

The committee also approved Republicans' new state Senate districts, after making some minor changes in Guilford and Durham counties requested by Democrats. Monday's changes don't impact the partisan leanings of the districts.

Democratic Congressman Don Davis of Greenville would have the only toss-up election in the state. The outcome of that race would determine whether Republicans hold 10 or 11 seats.

North Carolina's congressional delegation currently has seven Democrats and seven Republicans under maps drawn under a court order in a gerrymandering lawsuit. The newly elected Republican majority on the state Supreme Court has signaled it's less likely to block maps that give the GOP an advantage.

Democrats like Rep. Eric Ager, D-Buncombe, plan to vote against the new district maps this week. Gov. Roy Cooper has called the proposals "gerrymandering on steroids."

Colin Campbell covers politics for WUNC as the station's capitol bureau chief.