NC Redistricting roundup

It’s been a hectic week in NC redistricting news.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice went ahead as expected and pre-cleared North Carolina’s new maps. Char-O story
But just before that there was a revelation that thousands of voters were left out of the maps. GOP leaders downplayed the error saying it was a technical glitch. Get used to that phrase. This WRAL story has lots of links to the details on the areas left out, which appear at first blush to be around mainly Democratic areas.
Now, the lawsuits begin with one filed yesterday and another today. Plaintiffs in the suit filed Thursday include a number of Democrats including a former senator from Fayetteville.

Link to the suit filed Thursday(pdf)

(I’ll post the new suit, brought by a coalition of groups including the state NAACP, the League of Women Voters and Democracy NC as soon as I can get a link.)

Reaction from Around the State:

Folks in Asheville are pretty upset.

Another call for redistricting reform from today’s Char-O editorial:

It may well be legal. But we know it can’t be labeled fair – not when it makes 10 of 13 congressional districts lean Republican in a state that is pretty evenly divided in terms of party preference.

The Winston-Salem Journal notes that lines in Forsyth are among those singled out in one of the suits. The residence of Senator Linda Garrou, one of 44 plaintiffs listed, was drawn out of her current district.

One Forsyth County plaintiff, Hayes McNeill, who is active in the state and local Democratic Party, said that the exclusion of Garrou from her district was “a spiteful thing.”

“These maps are so bad, there has never been as many split precincts on any map of North Carolina,” McNeill said. “A lot of us for years have wanted to see an independent commission do this. This is patently unfair.”

First out date looms — here we go

Tomorrow is the scheduled day for the First Out for the redistricting plans submitted for North Carolina’s congressional and state legislature districts.
First Out is explained by the Justice Department thusly:

The date appearing under the heading “First Out” is the initial date by which the Attorney General must make his determination or inform the jurisdiction that the date will be modified.

It’s still possible DoJ will seek an extension, but I’m going with the idea that we’ll see something very soon. The department tends to publish its rulings on a Monday, so maybe today, maybe next Monday.
This DoJ response will begin the long process of establishing the final districts in the state.
So, here we go.

Department of Justice Section 5 info page
LA Times article on redistricting plans and DoJ
Char-O today

Rouzer’s contribution list packed with ag interests, lobbyists

Johnston County State Senator David Rouzer is running for congress in NC-7 and hopes to unseat Democratic incumbent Mike McIntyre in a district redrawn to be a little more GOP friendly.
Since he’s running for congress Rouzer is allowed to raise money for his federal campaign in ways not allowed a sitting North Carolina legislator. State legislators are forbidden to take contributions when the General Assembly is in session and are barred from ever receiving contributions from lobbyists.
Rouzer’s congressional campaign was able to do both and his first official federal campaign report shows a huge take in the first six weeks of his campaign.
Report main page
List of contributions
The report details 205,491 in contributions most of which came in September via more than 188,000 in individual contributions. So, who were those individuals?
The list in Rouzer’s filing, which covers contributions through September 30, is a who’s who in big ag in eastern NC. Hog producers like Wendel Murphy, tobacco farmers like Benson’s Lee family and the leadership of the Goldsboro Milling Company are among the farm interests on the list.
Also on the list are several lobbyists, mostly representing ag industries like the NC Pork Council’s Angela Meier and Tommy Stevens. Oh, and Rufus, too, wherever he fits in.
Although the individual contributions outpaced Rouzer’s take from PACs, there are still plenty of familiar names who jumped into with both feet, including the aforementioned NC Pork Council, NC Farm Bureau PAC, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina and trial attorney PAC Ward & Smith.
Rouzer is co-chair of the NC Senate’s Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources committee.

Further reading:
Indyweek – Campaign contributions, influence and the N.C. Legislature

NC unemployment rate rises

(Click on the chart for full size)

September employment numbers are out.

The North Carolina seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 10.5 percent in September, an increase of 0.1 of a percentage point over the month, and 0.5 of a percentage point higher than September 2010. Over the month, the number of persons unemployed grew by 4,498 (1.0%). The civilian labor force was relatively unchanged at 4,506,313.

Government jobs show the biggest decline with a loss in the past year of about 18K jobs over the past year.
Complete report here (pdf).

RALEIGH – The number of people employed in North Carolina increased slightly in September, but the unemployment rate ticked up by one tenth of one percent. Since September 2010, private sector jobs have increased by 28,400. In that same time frame, the government sector is down 18,700.
“The private sector has added jobs since September of last year,” said ESC Chairman Lynn R. Holmes. “Meanwhile, government jobs have declined, according to the seasonally adjusted data.”

We’ll see how this breaks down in the individual counties and municipalities next week when the local numbers are released.

More dismal employment numbers

Weekly unemployment claims are out this morning showing 401,000 new filers for unemployment.
Up from last week and no where near where it should be.
From MarketWatch:

Still, the economy remains weak, and hiring by historical standards is very slow at the current stage of recovery.

Yet another sign that policy is dragging down the economy.