RALEIGH, N.C. – North Carolina is no stranger to redistricting.
While many states only discuss new voting maps every ten years, due to multiple lawsuits, it has been a main topic of discussion over the last several years for lawmakers in our state.
After much back and forth in court, a three-judge panel said congressional maps used in the 2016 election were a partisan gerrymander in favor of Republicans. The court ordered newly drawn maps which are being used for the first time this election cycle.
Stephen Xavier is a conservative who lives in Apex. Even for a self-proclaimed politics buff like himself, the topic of redistricting can be daunting.
“I eat, drink, and sleep this stuff and it’s confusing to me. I really have to stay on top of it,” Xavier said.
As a voter in District 2, Xavier became a fan of current Congressman George Holding after receiving aid for his ailing mother, who is also a veteran.
“I don’t believe it was an ‘R’ after the name that made a difference,” Xavier said. “His staff was very responsive to me. He never asked what my political leanings were, I wasn’t a big check-writer.”
It’s why he says he was particularly upset to learn, due to newly enacted redistricting maps, his district is almost certain to be won this year by the Democratic candidate.
Holding, who has served in Congress since 2013, decided not to run in the 2020 election.
“It’s about power, and every 10 years, whoever is in charge decides to take charge and they use their point of view and their perspective to their advantage, and I think this is probably the most blatant case of it.”
There’s a strong chance the U.S. House could add two Democratic seats from North Carolina’s District 2 and 6 that almost certainly would have been taken by Republicans if the court had not struck down the 2016 maps.
Antoine Marshall also lives in District 2. He is a registered Democrat and believes the newly drawn congressional maps give a better representation of voters in the district.
“When you look at the community level and you look at what has happened over the past decade with the gerrymandered maps, there’s a vast majority of the state that was not being represented,” Marshall said.
Marshall points out that the maps are just for one voting cycle and will be re-drawn once again based on the 2020 Census results. He says this should be an incentive for voters to cast their ballots this fall.
“I’ve seen it time and time again over the last eight years or so since they’ve done the redistricting. A lot of these policies that have been passed by our state General Assembly and federally by Congress have not been reflected by the popular will of the people,” Marshall said.
Alan Swain is running as the Republican candidate in District 2. He is facing Democratic candidate Deborah Ross for the Congressional seat.
The other seat that was redrawn from a Republican leaning district to a Democratic leaning district is District 6 in the Triad. Right now, Republican Mark Walker holds that seat, but chose not to run for re-election with the new map. Democrat Kathy Manning is facing Republican Joseph Haywood there.