With only three months before the 2022 election, some North Carolina politicians are struggling to choose their voters.
The confusion springs from a last-minute redistricting by the state’s supreme court which has made several leaders reconsider which district they should run in.
When Republicans turned in a congressional redistricting map on Feb. 17, the state supreme court argued that the map was unfair toward Democrats. On Feb. 23, a three-judge panel from the court substituted its own map.
If the new map survives an appeal from the North Carolina GOP, it will likely gain Democrats two seats in North Carolina, shifting North Carolina from five Democratic districts and eight Republican districts to six Democratic districts, seven Republican districts, and one competitive district.
But in the short-term, the new map makes it difficult for candidates to know what district they should be running in.
2022 is an important year for redistricting. After the release of 2020 census results was delayed for months by the pandemic, states across America are scrambling to organize redistricting, which plays a major role in determining which candidates get to go to Congress.
The 2022 redistricting will likely help Republicans more than Democrats. Republicans will have the chance to redraw 187 congressional districts, while Democrats will have 75. An additional 167 seats will be redrawn by commissions or by bipartisan leaders.
Readjusting House representative numbers for the census has given North Carolina an additional seat in Congress.
Historically, North Carolina has often sent higher numbers of Republicans to Congress, although Democrats have about 13 percent more registered voters. In presidential elections, the last few elections were extremely close.
For now, several candidates will have to figure out which district to run in by March 4.
Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn originally announced plans to run in a neighboring district, but now he might remain in his home district.
The new map also significantly reorganizes the old districts of Republican Reps. Dan Bishop and Richard Hudson.
Hudson announced today that he will run for office in North Carolina’s ninth congressional district. According to his campaign, he has previously represented eight of the district’s nine counties.
“I look forward to remaining Fort Bragg’s Congressman and again earning the support of the people of the new 9th District,” Hudson said in a press release.
Although The Epoch Times has contacted the Bishop campaign, it received no response by press time.
Fifth District Democratic Party chair Charlie Wallin told The Epoch Times that he still doesn’t know who the Democrats will run in his district.
“There will be a candidate file in the 5th,” he said. “They are waiting to see what the 5th is going to look like. As are many other candidates who are jumping back and forth.”
Both the newly-created 13th and 14th congressional districts have no incumbent, offering the chance for competitive primaries. The 13th district is likely to be close in the general election, too.
The most recent rejected map is the second rejected by the North Carolina Supreme Court. It was a bipartisan redistricting map created because the original Republican map plan was also rejected.
During its creation, North Carolina Republican and Democrat House members had equal access to the rooms with map-drawing computers.
The court-appointed remedial map will give the Democrats an advantage in the 2022 election, but state representatives will have to redraw yet again in 2024.
At least two of the State Supreme Court’s Democratic judges are up for reelection, which might give North Carolina Republicans an upper hand in creating a redistricting map that will last until the next census.
In the long-term, North Carolina voter registration trends suggest the state is growing more Republican.