New congressional redistricting maps for North Carolina are out. As expected, a significant advantage goes to Republicans. So significant, in fact, that after the 2012 elections the GOP should control nine out of 13 congressional seats — and possibly 10 out of 13.
The latter scenario would be a net four seat pick-up, because Democrats now have a seven-to-six advantage in the congressional delegation.
The new maps pack Democratic voters into both of North Carolina’s Voting Right Act districts, which have a majority of minority voters, and into a third mostly urban district in the central part of the state. That leaves the other ten districts strongly Republican, leaning Republican, or swing.
Rep. Heath Shuler, of North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District, is toast after the redrawn maps took out a chunk of his liberal base in Asheville. American Spectator readers will remember him as the upstart Blue Dog Democrat who challenged Nancy Pelosi for House Minority Leader last year. Shuler’s district is now one of the most conservative in the state. Count on a Republican gain here.
Another conservative-leaning Democrat — Rep. Larry Kissell of the 8th Congressional District — is going to have an uphill climb, too. Ditto for uber-liberal Rep. Brad Miller of the 13th Congressional District. Devoted connoisseurs of Tar Heel politics will recall Miller from the last round of redistricting in 2001. Miller, then a state senator, chaired the committee that drew the boundaries for the congressional district he later ran in. Essentially, he hand-tailored his own district.
Republicans had the last laugh, though, by carving up Miller’s formerly safe Democratic district into a GOP-safe one.
Of all the Democrats, Rep. Mike McIntyre of the 7th Congressional District fared the best. Under the new maps, he’ll face a tough, but not insurmountable, challenge. McIntyre is the only Democrat from the Old North State who voted to overturn ObamaCare.
All this is contingent on the maps remaining substantially as they are after an inevitable round or two (or three) of litigation.