As legislative leaders rejected Gov. Roy Cooper’s call for a special session on redistricting last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown held up a map of the Senate district Cooper represented in the 1990s. The map showed Nash County — Cooper’s home — with a jagged swath extending north into Halifax County and a C-shaped territory through Wilson and Edgecombe counties. “I don’t think anybody could draw a map quite like this one,” said Brown, a Jacksonville Republican. “This one is about as bad as it gets, and this happens to be our governor’s map in 1990 that he drew.” … So what was Cooper’s role in redistricting during his time in the legislature? The maps Brown showed off were approved by the legislature along party lines in January 1992. At the time, Cooper was still in his first year in the Senate, having moved over from the House when the senator in his Nash County district died in office.
Cooper did not lead the Senate Redistricting Committee that year. Those 1992 legislative maps replaced a plan that was rejected by the U.S. Department of Justice, which said the initial maps violated the federal Voting Rights Act by diluting the voting strength of minorities. The agency also said the maps “deferred to the interests of incumbents.”
Democrats admitted that the 1992 plan they created to address the concerns wasn’t ideal.