Mecklenburg County split into 3 congressional districts in early redistricting map
North Carolina legislators began drawing new legislative maps Wednesday as the state kicks off a two-week sprint to create new congressional districts and state House and Senate maps based on population data from the 2020 census.
The state is getting a 14th seat in the House of Representatives, and much of the attention statewide — and across the nation — is on where that seat will be. Another question is whether Republicans will draw a map in which they are favored to win 10 of 14 seats or a map in which they are favored to win 9 of 14.
For much of the last decade, Republicans controlled 10 of 13 seats. Republicans today have 8 of 13 seats after Republicans were ordered by a three-judge panel of state judges to draw new maps in 2019.
Under a map drawn Wednesday by Republican Sen. Warren Daniel of Morganton, that 14th seat would be west of Charlotte. It would include seven counties, including Gaston and Cleveland counties and parts of Mecklenburg County.
It would peel off the Lake Norman towns and parts of west and southwest Mecklenburg County. Mecklenburg would be split into two other districts.
The 12th District, which is represented by Alma Adams, would contain most of Charlotte and remain a Democratic stronghold. Parts of southern Mecklenburg County would remain in the 9th District, currently represented by Republican Dan Bishop.
If Mecklenburg County were only divided into two congressional districts, Democrats would have an opportunity to win a second district.
Daniel’s map would also divide Wake County into three districts.
There are likely to be several maps drawn over the next two weeks before the Republican-controlled legislature takes a final vote.
The map-making process is similar to how it was conducted in 2019, after the General Assembly was ordered to draw new maps before the 2020 elections. There are several web cameras that show legislators making maps in real time.
When the new maps are approved, it’s expected that Democratic-aligned groups will sue over the maps.
In August, Republicans approved criteria for how the new maps would be drawn. The GOP said it would not use racial data or political data.
When making the congressional map, they also said the “division of counties in the 2021 congressional plan shall only be made for reasons of equalizing population and consideration of double bunking. If a county is of sufficient population size to contain an entire congressional district within the county’s boundaries, the Committees shall construct a district entirely within that county.”
It’s unclear if that standard means that Mecklenburg and Wake counties should only be placed into two legislative districts. If that happened, it would be a boost to Democrats.