Primary fight brewing after redistricting

If the maps stay the same, it’s looking more and more like two veteran Democratic congressmen could end up vying for the opportunity to represent the good people of the North Carolina 4th Congressional District, which now extends from Burlington to Fayetteville.
From the story in the Indy’s Triangulator blog

When redistricting plans shifted his Raleigh residence into the 4th Congressional District, Congressman Brad Miller, who represents the state’s 13th Congressional District, said he did not envision himself getting into a primary fight with Democratic colleague, David Price of Chapel Hill.

But after taking a hard look at the composition of the new 4th, Miller says he is now strongly considering running for the 4th if the current maps hold. The five-term congressman said neither he nor Price has a right to claim the new district outright.

(Note: I expect at some point soon to have a long talk with Congressman Price about this as well, but for now he didn’t seem to be eager to discuss it.)

Breaking down the NC congressional races

This month’s column is a table setter, breaking down the North Carolina congressional elections district by district based on the new maps and candidates leaning toward a run. As noted, the districts may change, but for now here’s how things are looking.

New congressional districts set up 2012 races: Advantage, Republicans

In print and on line in the Independent Weekly

North Carolina is proving to be a key state in the GOP strategy to maintain control of the U.S. House. Now that redistricting has set the table, the party and outside groups are preparing to pour enormous resources into close races to unseat Democratic incumbents now in less favorable districts.

Republican leaders are counting on picking up seats in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and other states where they’ve been able to command the redistricting process in order to offset expected losses in Illinois and California.

Hagan answers the call

Politico gives Kay Hagan props for taking phone calls as promised:

Kay Hagan picks up the phone

In what was a brave undertaking – and a lovely photo op – the North Carolina Democrat kept her word and answered the phones in her Washington office for about an hour and a half.

New maps are worse for Dems

Why is it not surprising that the fix is worse than the original?
Via Roll Call:

The new map draws Democratic Reps. Brad Miller and David Price together into Price’s 4th district and puts Democratic Reps. Mike McIntyre and Larry Kissell together in Kissell’s 8th district. The first version of the map did not pair any incumbents together and the latest, and likely final version, looks substantially different from that draft and the current map. Tar Heel State Republicans attributed the changes made to the new map largely to the requests of Democratic Rep. G.K. Butterfield, an accusation he denied.

Have a look yourself at Congress 2.whatever

The Maps of Mid July

“Elections matter” although perhaps a little condescending is the best way to answer the questions you get when trying to explain the consequences of the newly redrawn state House and Senate districts and the process by which they were created.
Once the final tally came in on the evening of the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November 2010 this was inevitable. Elections matter and in this case they mattered greatly. As one political consultant put it to me recently, losing big ahead of a redistricting year is “like a hurricane coming ashore at high tide on a full moon.”
In any contest one side being able to set the rules of the game is an overwhelming advantage. Being able to change them midstream is even more advantageous. That’s the case here in North Carolina where the GOP led redistricting will reset the dynamics of the state’s legislative contests. At the same time there’s been a robust effort on the part of the party in power to rewrite as much of the state’s election code as they can get away with. Many of these bills are complex but their goal to reduce both the turnout and impact of votes from traditionally Democratic areas and constituencies is not. At this point, with the cards now on the table, no one could look at what is being done and declare it neutral.
That the attempt to override Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto of the Voter ID bill, the crudest of the vote suppression tools, is coming during a session dedicated to redistricting further underlines that this is a coordinate, partisan effort to consolidate and hold on to power.
The House and Senate maps released yesterday, just days ahead of the session, were full of tricks and traps for specific members of the opposition as well as a highly transparent overall effort to mitigate Democratic voter turnout.
Data from the maps show Democratic voters more tightly packed in their districts than Republicans. Totals of how each district leaned in past races is far out of line with the actual statewide results. The carving up of minority areas, the double-bunking of sitting Democratic legislators into one district and drawing specific legislators out of their districts are tried and true techniques to rig the outcome.
The courts will have their say on this and as they’ve done in the past when Democrats have similarly overreached require some reworking of the specifics, particularly in how the cities with large minority populations are sliced and diced.
Even after the courts get a hold of them and ask for a redrafting here and there the strategy and its consequences in 2012 and years later will be felt and the end result will be the same: for the next decade the state legislature will be more conservative than the state itself.
Statewide races for both state and national office won’t be greatly affected by the legislative maps (they will be affected by the some of the vote suppression efforts) so we’re likely to continue to see the state skew more for Democrats in those races, while the new districts help GOP candidates in races for U.S. Congress and the state House and Senate.
A big turnout in next year’s election could upset these dynamics, but in the non-presidential years the maps will favor the GOP. In 2016 and 2020, whether North Carolina is in play in the presidential contest and the general enthusiasm of the electorate will have a big effect on the makeup of the General Assembly. But in 2014 and 2018 the maps will set the stage for the GOP to win back what might have been lost in prior elections.
Election matter.

Early handicapping NC US House races

The official proposed congressional maps are out and some early analysis says that the districts now represented by Reps. Larry Kissell, Heath Shuler and Brad Miller are decidedly more Republican with Rep. Mike McIntyre’s now leaning more that way. GOP Rep. Renee Ellmers district is shored up with more GOP voters thanks to a shift of Wake County voters that helped Democratic Rep. David Price. Dem Reps. Mel Watt and G. K. Butterfield also emerged with stronger districts.
Source: John Davis Report. h/t MB @nando

Maps, more links to follow