State legislators “made the best of a bad situation” when they adopted new U.S. House districts for North Carolina last week but the argument over the districts illustrates the need for a nonpartisan redistricting process, Gov. Pat McCrory said. A three-member panel of federal judges on Feb. 5 directed the General Assembly to draw up new districts no later than Friday, saying legislators had made race too much of a factor when the districts were originally approved in 2011. Legislators approved a new district map Friday on party-line votes – Republicans in favor, Democrats against – and moved the U.S. House primary date from March 15 to June 7. “I didn’t think it was an appropriate time for the federal (judges) to rule after the elections were already started … since those maps have been around literally for 25 years with minor revisions done by both Democrats and Republicans,” McCrory said Monday in a brief interview after an announcement of a new auto parts manufacturing plant coming to Mills River.
“I wish (legislators) wouldn’t have had to delay the election, but within the period of time that they had to work with … I thought they did a good job,” McCrory said.
Absentee ballots had already gone out to some voters. The new districts have been criticized as a partisan gerrymander because they give an advantage to Republicans running in 10 of the state’s 13 districts even though the number of votes cast for Democratic and Republican House candidates in recent years has been roughly equal.
McCrory said he has long favored changing the way districts are drawn to make the process less partisan and still does. “We need to revisit the whole concept of how to draw districts, not only in North Carolina but throughout the nation,” he said. The problem, he said, is that the party out of office often favors giving the job to a nonpartisan commission, but “when they’re in office they stall.”
Full Article: McCrory wants redistricting changes, praises new maps.