New maps unveiled by lawmakers

Published 12:56 am Wednesday, July 13, 2011

As expected, a legislative redistricting map released Tuesday changes the configuration of state Senate District 1.

The map reflects changes already made public in partial redistricting plans unveiled in June.

Sen. Stan White, D-Dare, represents Senate District 1.

White was appointed to fill out the unexpired term of Sen. Marc Basnight, D-Dare, who stepped down early this year. White serves Beaufort County and seven other northeast counties.

This state House redistricting map released Tuesday shows Beaufort County would be paired with all of Washington County and much of northeast Craven County in District 6. Beaufort County’s current representative is Bill Cook, a Republican. Washington County’s current representative is Tim Spear, a Democrat. (NCGA Image)

This map shows the possible future outline of state Senate District 1, which, at present, is represented by Sen. Stan White, D-Dare. (NCGA Image)

The redrawn Senate District 1 would remove Tyrrell and Washington counties from White’s district, placing them in a neighboring Senate District 3. The entirety of Martin County would be included in District 3.

The blueprint leaves Beaufort County whole and intact in White’s district.

If this plan were approved by the Legislature, and signed off on by the U.S. Department of Justice, Beaufort County would remain the largest county in the White’s district, in terms of population.

Lawmakers in the Republican-led N.C. General Assembly crafted the new Senate map.

In an interview last month, White said he wasn’t sure the district outlines he was hearing about would pass muster with the Justice Department.

Because of stipulations under the federal Voting Rights Act, the department must sign off on certain election-related changes in North Carolina, including newly drawn legislative districts.

Locally, the redistricting map that has brought the most attention affected the state House district represented by Bill Cook, R-Beaufort.

On Monday, Cook confirmed a new House map that was expected to be rolled out Tuesday would keep Beaufort County whole and intact in one House territory.

A previously floated map would have divided the county, but Cook made it known House leaders had assured him a freshly cobbled map would keep his county whole.

Last year, Cook was elected to serve in House District 6, which takes in all of Beaufort County and a slice of northeast Pitt County.

“I really hate to lose Pitt to tell you the truth, if that’s what’s going to happen,” Cook said Monday, adding that, in the 2010 elections, he got about 70 percent of the vote in the eight Pitt County precincts he represents.

“Those folks were really good to me,” Cook said. “I hate to see the loss of Pitt, but I think it’s important for Beaufort (County) to stay whole if nothing else because so many people want it. And I am their representative, so if they want it they got it.”

On Monday, The Associated Press reported that Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, had said the latest-issued maps would be available to the public Tuesday afternoon at the earliest.

North Carolina’s state lawmakers redraw legislative and congressional district maps every 10 years following the U.S. census.

None of the maps published so far has been approved by the Legislature, which is scheduled to convene today, principally to begin discussing redistricting.

The realigned districts, once approved by lawmakers and signed off on by the Justice Department – and potentially the courts – will be used in the 2012 elections.

For more on redistricting, see future editions.