Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) and Sen. Bob Rucho (R-Mecklenburg), chairmen of the Joint 2011 Redistricting Committee, released the new congressional maps today. While it has some superficial resemblance to the 2001 congressional districts produced by that year’s Democratic majority, the new map will have a significant impact on North Carolina’s congressional delegation. Political consultant John Davis produced an excellent detailed analysis of the new districts here.
The takeaway? Democrats are nearly certain to lose their current 7-6 majority of North Carolina’s Congressional seats. The Democrats particularly hard hit are Reps. Heath Shuler, Brad Miller, Larry Kissell, and potentially Rep. Mike McIntyre as well. All saw their districts shift enough to make reelection tough, if not impossible.
Rep. Miller’s new, more conservative district in particular is in stark contrast to the the one he drew himself in 2001 as chair of the NC Senate redistricting committee. He will lose most of Wake County and other Democratic strongholds. Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers saw her seat strengthened to protect her reelection bid. Ellmers was the sole Republican to defeat a incumbent Democratic North Carolina Congressman in 2010 – former Rep. Bob Etheridge.
In a joint statement, the Chairmen Rucho and Lewis explained the proposed maps.
“We believe that our proposed Congressional plan fully complies with applicable federal and state law. 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.”
Public hearings will be held on the new congressional districts on July 7 at locations across the state.