North Carolina Republicans hold power over redistricting for the first time in over a century
By Greg Janetka
RALEIGH, North Carolina: Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly have long cried foul over how Democrats have redrawn district boundaries, often with allegations of gerrymandering. This is all set to change, however, as Republicans will be in control of redistricting for the first time in over a century. Sweeping gains in the November 2010 elections put the GOP in control of both state chambers. While Republicans held a majority in the state House from 1995 to 1998, they have not had a majority in the state Senate since 1870.
Unlike some states that turn redistricting over to an independent commission, the North Carolina Constitution allows the state legislature to deal with it directly. On December 15, 2010, Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue, who has no power to veto districts drawn up by the legislature, said that she would like to see lawmakers create a bipartisan citizens commission to help with the redistricting process. The idea is not a new one, but has been pushed for by Republicans for years. In 2009, they sought a constitutional amendment to create an independent redistricting commission. While these bills failed, many sponsors of the effort will now be playing an active role in redistricting. Among these are Sen. Phil Berger, who will serve as the new Majority Leader come January, and Rep. Thom Tillis, who will be the new Speaker of the House.
Berger recently named Sen. Bob Rucho to lead the Senate's redistricting efforts. Rucho, who has said he does not think an independent commission could ever be truly independent, hopes to start the process as early as February. He says he is excited "about showing the people of North Carolina exactly how it should be done... the way the law says it should be done."
- Sweeping gains give Republicans control of North Carolina's state legislature
- North Carolina 2010 legislative election results
- State-by-state redistricting procedures
- Hampton Roads, "N.C. GOP gets historic chance with redistricting," November 3, 2010
- WRAL, "Perdue seeks redistricting panel, session limits," December 15, 2010
- Fay Observer, "Drawing: GOP should stand by its redistricting proposal," December 9, 2010
- Charlotte Observer, "Rucho to lead N.C. Senate's redistricting committee," December 7, 2010 (dead link)