fairn.png
Monday November 28th, 2022 6:15AM

NC Democrats' parity in Congress delegation may be fleeting

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Democrats celebrated winning what was billed as North Carolina's lone toss-up race for the U.S. House this month, as state Sen. Wiley Nickel’s narrow victory over Republican Bo Hines in the 13th Congressional District helped weaken any national GOP midterm wave.

Nickel's win creates a 7-7 split in the state’s delegation, marking the best showing for state Democrats after a decade of trailing the GOP in an otherwise closely divided state. Trial judges drew the latest district boundaries after redistricting litigation successfully blocked maps passed by the Republican-controlled legislature that could have whittled Democrats down to four seats.

“We’re a 50-50 state — we should have a 7-to-7 delegation," Nickel told The Associated Press this week during a break in his congressional orientation in Washington. "When we have fair maps, we get fair results that reflect the choice of the voters.”

But there’s a good chance Nickel's Raleigh-area district and others will be dramatically altered for the 2024 elections, returning the advantage to Republicans.

A confluence of events opens the door for General Assembly Republicans to pass their preferred congressional map in 2023 and have it used the following year. A new GOP majority on the state Supreme Court likely will be more skeptical of legal challenges that allege excessive partisanship.

“Seven-seven does not reflect the will of the voters in North Carolina,” House Speaker Tim Moore told reporters the day after the election. “So it should be something different. I don’t know what that is. But at the end of the day ... let’s trust the voters of this state.”

Republicans hold eight of the state’s 13 U.S. House districts through the year’s end. Population growth gave North Carolina a 14th seat with the November election.

GOP legislators vehemently opposed a split opinion by the state Supreme Court last winter that struck down a more favorable map for their party by declaring the state constitution prohibited partisan gerrymandering of boundaries.

State law required the judge-drawn map be used only for this year's races. Republicans will continue to have majorities in the state House and Senate next year comfortable enough to pass their favored map. Redistricting plans are not subject to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto stamp.

Most importantly, Republicans will have a 5-2 majority on the Supreme Court come January with victories by Trey Allen and Richard Dietz for seats currently held by registered Democrats.

The current 4-3 Democratic majority ruled that congressional and legislative maps approved by the General Assembly in November 2021 unlawfully gave Republicans outsized favoritism compared with Democrats. The three Republican justices who dissented wrote that the constitution doesn't expressly bar or limit partisan advantage in mapmaking.

The arrival of two more GOP justices makes it more likely — but not assured — that the court would uphold a future congressional map by the legislature while rejecting last year’s landmark ruling that defined illegal partisan gerrymandering.

Senate leader Phil Berger said he expected the state would now move away from what he called the “judicial gerrymander” to “what would be, I think, a different drawing of the congressional maps.”

It’s too soon to say what the next congressional lines will look like. Plans approved by the legislature but never implemented would have positioned Republicans to win 10 of the state’s 14 congressional seats.

Michael Bitzer, a political science professor at Catawba College in Salisbury, said Nickel would be a likely target for Republican lawmakers to place in a more GOP-friendly district.

Democratic state Sen. Jeff Jackson, who won the newly created 14th District seat covering portions of Mecklenburg and Gaston counties, and 6th District Democratic Rep. Kathy Manning of Greensboro, who won her third term, are also vulnerable, Bitzer said.

It’s possible the state Supreme Court shift could be moot. Litigation involving the congressional map is before the U.S. Supreme Court and could result in state courts losing the ability to judge laws involving federal elections, including seat boundaries. Oral arguments are scheduled for next month in the case, in which lawyers for Berger and Moore argue the U.S. Constitution delegates “the Times, Places and Manner” of congressional elections solely to state legislatures.

“Even if they’re unsuccessful in the U.S. Supreme Court, they now have a state Supreme Court that is most likely to be deferential to whatever the legislature comes up with, excusing any precedent” reached by the state justices, Bitzer said.

An analysis by Bitzer of federal statewide contests in North Carolina since 2008 show Republican candidates winning nearly 51% of the cumulative votes compared with 47% for Democrats. But the idea that a political party should be assured of seats aligned with their percentage support at the ballot box over time was shunned by authors of the state Supreme Court’s prevailing and dissenting opinions last February.

Nickel said he’s not worrying himself about what a future map looks like.

“We’ve got a huge opportunity to make some real bipartisan accomplishments in the next Congress, so that’s really the focus,” Nickel said. “At some point, they will draw new maps, but I’m optimistic that when that happens, we’ll have a seat we can run in.”

___

Schoenbaum is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General House Election News
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Day before FIFA World Cup, Qatar faces overcrowding troubles
Authorities have turned away thousands of fans from a concert celebrating the World Cup beginning the next day in Qatar
2:47PM ( 6 minutes ago )
NC Democrats' parity in Congress delegation may be fleeting
Democrats celebrated winning North Carolina's lone toss-up race for the U.S. House this month as Wiley Nickel won the 13th District seat
2:40PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Man gets jail for joining Capitol riot after Tinder date
A Delaware business owner has been sentenced to 30 days of incarceration for storming the U.S. Capitol after seeing the riot erupt on a Tinder date’s television and taking an Uber ride to join the mob’s attack
2:40PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Environmental groups oppose pipeline expansion in Pacific NW
The U.S. government has taken a step toward approving the expansion of a natural gas pipeline in the Pacific Northwest
12:57PM ( 1 hour ago )
UK PM Sunak makes surprise trip to Kyiv, boosts air defenses
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak promised 125 anti-aircraft guns and other air-defense technology as he made an unannounced visit Saturday — his first — to Ukraine’s snow-blanketed war-time capital
12:30PM ( 2 hours ago )
UN climate talks poised for deal creating disaster fund
Negotiators say they have struck a potential breakthrough deal on the thorniest issue of United Nations climate talks in Egypt: the creation of a fund for compensating poor nations that are victims of extreme weather worsened by rich countries’ carbon pollution
12:21PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
Public safety accounts urge caution on Twitter after changes
Across the country, government agencies, especially those tasked with sending messages during emergencies, have embraced Twitter over the last decade
10:16AM ( 4 hours ago )
Biden at 80: A 'respecter of fate' mulls 2nd White House bid
The oldest president in U.S. history is hitting a milestone birthday
10:02AM ( 4 hours ago )
Pope heads to immigrant father's hometown for birthday party
Pope Francis is returning to his father’s birthplace in northern Italy for the first time since ascending the papacy
8:16AM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Malaysians vote in tight race as old party, reformers clash
Counting of ballots has begun in Malaysia's tightly contested national election that will determine whether its long-ruling coalition can make a comeback after its electoral defeat four years ago
6:03AM ( 8 hours ago )
Malaysians vote in elections as old party, reformers clash
Voting is underway in Malaysia's tightly contested national election that will determine whether its long-ruling coalition can make a comeback after its electoral defeat four years ago
4:07AM ( 10 hours ago )
Trump 2024 rivals court his donors at big Las Vegas meeting
Republican presidential prospects are courting anxious donors and activists in Las Vegas , as the GOP's early 2024 class warns that former President Donald Trump is “a loser” and the party needs to turn elsewhere
12:57AM ( 13 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Indiana doctor: AG shouldn't get abortion patient records
Lawyers for an Indianapolis doctor who provided an abortion to a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio told a judge Friday that Indiana’s attorney general should not be allowed to access patient medical records for an investigation into undisclosed complaints
4:36PM ( 22 hours ago )
Tennessee court: Juvenile life sentencing unconstitutional
Tennessee’s Supreme Court has ruled that a state law mandating life sentences for juvenile homicide offenders is unconstitutional
3:33PM ( 23 hours ago )
New York hasn't licensed any pot shops, yet they abound
New York state's first licenses to sell recreational marijuana could be awarded as soon as next week
3:16PM ( 23 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Malaysia's old party, Mahathir lose ground to poll rivals
Malaysia’s graft-tainted coalition that had ruled the country for decades is losing ground to rival Malay blocs but could still return to power depending on post-election alliances
12:52PM ( 2 hours ago )
Malaysia's old party, Mahathir, lose ground to poll rivals
Malaysia’s graft-tainted coalition that had ruled the country for decades is losing ground to rival Malay blocs but could still return to power depending on post-election alliances
12:37PM ( 2 hours ago )
Trump 2024 rivals court his donors as primary season begins
Republican 2024 presidential prospects descend upon Las Vegas this weekend as anxious donors and activists openly consider whether to embrace former President Donald Trump for a third consecutive bid
4:15PM ( 22 hours ago )
AP Elections
Pelosi won't seek leadership role, plans to stay in Congress
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she will not seek a leadership role in the new Congress
1:01PM ( 2 days ago )
US House win by ex-combat pilot cements Republican control
U.S. Rep. Mike Garcia has been reelected in California in a victory that hands Republicans control of the House
9:27AM ( 2 days ago )
Republicans win back control of House with narrow majority
Republicans have won control of the U.S. House, returning the party to power in Washington and giving conservatives leverage to blunt President Joe Biden’s agenda and spur a flurry of investigations
8:39AM ( 2 days ago )
General House Election News
Day before FIFA World Cup, Qatar faces overcrowding troubles
Authorities have turned away thousands of fans from a concert celebrating the World Cup beginning the next day in Qatar
2:47PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Man gets jail for joining Capitol riot after Tinder date
A Delaware business owner has been sentenced to 30 days of incarceration for storming the U.S. Capitol after seeing the riot erupt on a Tinder date’s television and taking an Uber ride to join the mob’s attack
2:40PM ( 14 minutes ago )
House GOP pushes Hunter Biden probe despite thin majority
Even with their threadbare House majority, Republicans doubled down this week on using their new power to investigate the Biden administration and in particular the president’s son
2:21PM ( 33 minutes ago )
Crowded fan zone turns thousands away before Qatar World Cup
Authorities have turned away thousands of fans from a concert celebrating the World Cup beginning the next day in Qatar
2:20PM ( 34 minutes ago )
Lake-effect storm dumps several feet in NY; more expected
A massive storm has dumped several feet of snow in the areas ringing Lake Erie and Lake Ontario
2:14PM ( 40 minutes ago )