Under the Dome

How would proposed districts affect the Triangle’s members of Congress?

Congressman George Holding (R-NC) looks on during a Foreign Affairs Joint Subcommittee hearing on April 11, 2013 in Washington, DC.
Congressman George Holding (R-NC) looks on during a Foreign Affairs Joint Subcommittee hearing on April 11, 2013 in Washington, DC. MCT

Here’s how the proposed new congressional districts would affect the Triangle’s representatives in Congress:

U.S. Rep. George Holding: While the Raleigh Republican’s 13th District wasn’t involved in the federal court order to redraw districts, it’s the only district in the state that wouldn’t keep any of its current territory.

That means Holding’s home would be in the 4th District. If he switched and ran in the 4th, he’d face longtime U.S. Rep. David Price in a Democratic-leaning district.

Because members of Congress don’t have to live in their districts, Holding could seek re-election in the new Republican-leaning 13th, which would include Greensboro, Lexington and Statesville. But he could face a challenge from someone who’s better known in that part of the state.

“He has to learn about a whole new set of constituents and their needs, and that’s going to be tough,” said Michael Bitzer, a political science professor at Catawba College in Salisbury. “There may be a Republican in this new 13th District that could see an opening.”

If the Supreme Court halts the order to redraw the map and the current election proceeds, Holding is unopposed in the GOP primary. His spokeswoman didn’t return a call seeking comment.

U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers: The proposed new 2nd District looks a lot different, but Ellmers’ home turf of Harnett County would remain in the district.

Significantly, the proposed district would upend the Republican primary challenge that Ellmers faces – four GOP candidates have been campaigning to unseat her on March 15.

None of her challengers lives in the redrawn 2nd District: Jim Duncan of Chatham County, Kay Daly of Moore County, Frank Roche of Cary and Tim D’Annunzio of Hoke County. They could still run against her in the rescheduled primary but would have an added disadvantage.

Duncan spokesman Sean Moser had little to say about the change Thursday. “We need to let the system play out and see what’s going to happen to make a final determination” on the race, he said.

Ellmers spokesman Blair Ellis issued a brief statement that “regardless of the decision that comes forth, Congresswoman Ellmers remains focused on serving the people within the Second District.”

Ellmers’ district would shift north and take in northern Wake, northern Johnston, western Wilson, Franklin and Nash counties.

U.S. Rep. David Price: Price, a Democrat, would have a much more compact district consisting of Orange County, southern Durham County, Cary and Raleigh.

His 4th District now stretches from Alamance County to Fayetteville. The change wouldn’t affect the heavily Democratic tilt of his district.

Price issued a statement saying that the GOP redistricting plan “did not set out to ensure fair representation” because the partisan split in the state’s congressional delegation probably wouldn’t change.

U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield: One of the state’s two African-American members of Congress, Butterfield would get a slightly more compact 1st District but keep most of his current constituents.

He would lose narrow slices of Nash, Franklin, Chowan, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Greene, Lenoir and Craven counties and instead add the majority of Durham County. The new district would still lean Democratic.

Bitzer said Butterfield probably would keep his seat. “It looks like he retains most of his geographic base, and it’s hard to beat an incumbent,” he said.

U.S. Rep. David Rouzer: The 7th District would drop northern Johnston County and add Wayne County, but it mostly wouldn’t change. The Republican’s home in the McGee’s Crossroads community of Johnston would stay in the district.

U.S. Rep. Mark Walker: A Republican who represents northern Orange and Durham counties, Walker would see his 6th District become more compact.

He’d drop Surry County, Stokes County and the Orange and Durham areas, and instead add Chatham, Lee and Randolph counties – now part of Ellmers’ district. His current GOP primary challenger, Chris Hardin of Browns Summit, also lives in the proposed new 6th District.

“If these new districts are upheld, I look forward to providing the new counties of Randolph, Chatham and Lee a strong conservative voice in Washington,” Walker said in a news release.

Colin Campbell: 919-829-4698, @RaleighReporter

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