Their old legislative district maps have been ruled unconstitutional by federal courts because of racial gerrymandering, and now Republican leaders of the General Assembly have no choice but to draw new districts by Sept. 1. Yet they seem not just calm but upbeat about the whole process. And to do the map drawing they’ve hired Tom Hofeller, who drew the current unconstitutional maps. He’ll be paid $50,000 for the task. So there’s the first curiosity about all this. Hofeller’s of course a friend of the GOP, which is to be expected. But how can taxpayers, who are footing this bill, have confidence in someone whose last maps were thrown out by courts? But there are other curious things here. The Republicans, who have Democrats on their committees pertaining to redistricting but ignore them, have passed rules clearly aimed to benefit them in terms of guidelines for drawing the new maps.
For example, the rules just passed allow them to consider past election results when drawing the new districts. That would seem to say, well, if Representative So-and-So won, then he must be the chosen representative of the people so we need to figure a map that will help him. There’s a recipe for trouble.
And, another rule will allow the new maps drawn in a way that can protect incumbents.
House Minority Leader Rep. Darren Jackson of Wake County nailed that one: “We will protect the incumbents elected using unconstitutional maps.” Bam. Pow. Zing.