The every-10-year process known as congressional redistricting is always an exercise in creative map-making followed by lawsuits. It was no different this time around, as Republicans in the General Assembly carved up the state in new ways.
But its a highly unpopular way to govern, according to a new survey by the N.C. Coalition for Lobbying and Government Reform. The group is surveying candidates for the N.C. House and Senate, and so far, of the more than 60 responses received, every single one of them would like to see a new process for redistricting.
Under the current process its almost impossible to come up with fair and impartial districts, respondents said. The coalition quotes state Rep. Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford, saying, Voters should be able to choose their representatives, not the other way around.
Rep. Pat Hurley, R-Randolph, said, I am not sure how we can get it to be done in a nonpartisan manner, but it needs to be done differently.
The coalition is still gathering responses, which will be posted on its website, www.nclobbyreform.org.
A nonpartisan redistricting bill passed the House in a bipartisan vote last year, and some respondents expressed support for it. The collation, which is comprised of more than 35 groups, will push for reform legislation in the next session.
The survey comes at the same time an inside look at the process has been published in The Atlantic magazine. Writer Robert Draper, in The League of Dangerous Mapmakers, tells the story of Tom Hofeller, the Republicans secret weapon, focusing on his work in North Carolina.
The story begins:
Every 10 years, after U.S. census workers have fanned out across the nation, a snowy-haired gentleman by the name of Tom Hofeller takes up anew his quest to destroy Democrats. He packs his bag and his laptop with its special Maptitude software, kisses his wife of 46 years, pats his West Highland white terrier, Kara, and departs his home in Alexandria, Virginia, for a United States that he will help carve into a jigsaw of disunity.
Draper also writes: Tom Hofeller relishes the blood sport of redistricting, but there is a responsible way as Hofeller himself demonstrated this past cycle in the artful (if baldly partisan) redrawing of North Carolinas maps and also a reckless way.
McCrory stands behind ad
The leader of the N.C. legislative black caucus is calling on Republican Pat McCrory to take off the air a television commercial featuring a former county sheriff who blamed race for his failed re-election bid.
Wilson County Sheriff Wayne Gay, who is white, lost the 2010 Democratic primary to a former SBI agent, who is black, by 24 points. Gay, who switched to the Republican Party after his loss, said race played a role. Ninety-eight percent of them voted based on race. They didnt vote based on qualifications, he told a TV station at the time.
In a letter to McCrory, Democratic state Sen. Floyd McKissick said he was appalled by the campaign commercial. This ad, with this script, featuring this man was no accident. He triggers a racial cue that has no place in this campaign, McKissick wrote. The ad featuring Wayne Gay is offensive and plays upon fear. Thus, I call on you to take it down.
McCrorys campaign is standing behind the ad.
In a statement, McCrory spokesman Ricky Diaz didnt address the substance of McKissicks letter. But he linked McKissick to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Walter Dalton and asserted it as a positive ad.
Diaz called the concerns just another desperate attack from the Perdue-Dalton smear machine.
They are obviously worried because Sheriff Gay was a longtime Democrat, actively campaigned for 3 consecutive Democrat governors including Perdue, and even was elected national chairman of the Sheriffs Association by sheriffs from all over the country ... but now he is supporting Pat McCrory for governor because of the leadership he can bring to the state, Diaz said.
Rev your motors if you like Obama
Could Barack Obama be leading Mitt Romney among NASCAR fans?
It is counterintuitive, given Romneys lead among Southern white men, who make up a large portion of NASCAR fans.
But an online survey by noted pollster John Zogby found Obama leading by 49 to 42 percent among NASCAR fans. Admittedly, NASCAR fans were only 200 of the 860 likely voters that Zogbys firm, JZ Analytics, surveyed Friday and Saturday. The overall survey had a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points, so the margin of error for the NASCAR fans would have been much larger. That means the numbers are bound to be soft.
The Obama NASCAR lead was first spotted in the left-leaning PolitcusUSA blog and reported in the Huffington Post.
Democrats initially planned to kick off their Charlotte convention at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. NASCAR legend Junior Johnson has been an early Obama supporter and has been a guest at the White House.
Staff writers Craig Jarvis, John Frank, Rob Christensen
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