Republican leaders have tapped a familiar consultant to help with the drawing of new districts for electing General Assembly members after maps he drew six years ago were found by the federal courts to include illegal racial gerrymanders. Tom Hofeller, a seasoned GOP mapmaker and a chief architect of the 2011 N.C. maps, is working with legislative leaders again on how to create new districts that will pass muster. Rep. David Lewis, a Harnett County Republican and House redistricting leader, informed a group of legislators on Wednesday of Hofeller’s return to a process that could determine how the state is divided into political districts for the rest of the decade. Hofeller was profiled in The Atlantic magazine in 2012 in an article titled “The League of Dangerous Mapmakers.”
When asked at a redistricting committee hearing on Wednesday whether Hofeller would be available to Democrats, Lewis responded: “The short answer is no.”
Lewis did not have as concise an answer when asked by a Democrat at the meeting whether a goal for the Republicans shepherding the map drawing would be to keep the same partisan advantage as the maps with illegal gerrymanders had yielded.
“It will be the perogative of this committee to determine what the criteria are on the drawing of these maps,” Lewis told a room full of legislators, media and others interested in the redistricting process.