Saturday, July 2, 2022

What redistricting looks like in the Cape Fear region

North Carolina’s redistricting process gives a new shape to the coastal Congressional district that includes the Cape Fear region. (Port City Daily/Courtesy photo)

SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — The changes to local electoral maps brought by this year’s redistricting process range from subtle relocations of neighborhood chunks between state districts to the stark change in texture of the hometown Congressional map. 

The North Carolina General Assembly approved new maps earlier in November, a once-in-a-decade opportunity, in a party line vote that is immune to governor veto. 

The reshaped districts affect races for U.S. Congress and those for N.C. House and Senate. Some leftwing organizations have alleged that the Republican-led general assembly engaged in gerrymandering, but lawsuits have failed to pick up steam as of this week.

In the Congressional sphere, the 7th District, currently represented by U.S. Rep. David Rouzer (R), is set for an overhaul. Rouzer’s district in past elections stretched north up to Johnston County, where he spent parts of his early life and served as a state senator prior to his entrance into Congress in 2015. 

The new maps remove Johnston and Sampson counties — as well as parts of Harnett — from the southeastern, coastal Congressional district, now called the 3rd District.

Rouzer confirmed to The Insider he intends to seek re-election in the 3rd District, which includes the coastal counties Robeson, Columbus, Brunswick, New Hanover, Pender and parts of Onslow (also the inland counties Bladen and Duplin).

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The 3rd District has a population of around 746,000, according to NCGA redistricting documents. New Hanover County would comprise 30% of the constituency; Brunswick County makes up 18% and Pender County is at 8%.

Congressional Map (Port City Daily)

The New Hanover County-based state Senate district, currently represented by Michael Lee, will be stretched north up to the Pender County line. Previously, a portion of the northwest county was included in the Senate district to the north. 

Moreover, in the new maps, a large chunk of the northwest county has been absorbed into District 8 to the west, represented by Bill Rabon. The territory is along the I-140 corridor that passes over the Northeast Cape Fear River, around Wrightsboro. Lee confirmed to WECT he plans to run again in 2022. 

Rabon’s District 8 previously included Pender, Brunswick and Bladen counties. Starting next year, under the new maps, the district would be limited to Brunswick and Columbus counties — as well as the sliver of northwestern New Hanover.  

For the district that includes Duplin, Pender, Sampson and Bladen counties, Brent Jackson is now listed as the incumbent.

State Senate Map (Port City Daily)

As it has been in recent elections, New Hanover County is divided into three districts in maps for the N.C. House. The shape of the new map is largely similar to its predecessor, with slight adjustments to the border between Deb Butler’s northwestern District 18 and Ted Davis Jr.’s northeastern District 20. 

The southern area of the county, including Pleasure Island, make up Charlie Miller’s District 19, along with a large section of Brunswick County. The border between District 19 and Frank Iler’s District 17 have been reshuffled in somewhat of an inversion of the previous map. The newly approved District 19 has around 47,000 Brunswick County residents and 44,000 from New Hanover County.

All five representatives told WECT they will seek re-election.

State House Map (Port City Daily)

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