Spear denies quid pro quo on House district

Published 1:19 am Friday, July 29, 2011

State Rep. Tim Spear, D-Washington, denied his House district was favorably redrawn in a quid pro quo arrangement with Republican leaders.

This new district splits Beaufort County along the Pamlico River, and it divides the city of Washington.


“I regret the fact that Beaufort County is not kept whole in the map, but these maps are being drawn by the majority party, not by me,” Spear told the Washington Daily News on Wednesday evening.

Spear would be bunked in House District 6 with Rep. Bill Cook, R-Beaufort, under new redistricting maps approved Wednesday by members of the N.C. General Assembly.

The map would place Cook and Spear in a district that encompasses Beaufort County north of the river, plus all of Hyde, Dare and Washington counties.

The latter three counties have majority-Democratic voter registration.

In an earlier draft of the map, Cook’s home county was kept whole in a district that still included Washington County but was thought to be more favorable to Cook, who serves on the House redistricting committee.

In an interview Wednesday, Cook alleged the latest map was the Republican leadership’s reward to Spear for the Democrat’s votes to help override Gov. Beverly Perdue’s vetoes of GOP-favored legislation.

Asked whether he agreed with Cook’s assertions, Spear replied, “Absolutely not.”

“I can’t believe Rep. Cook would make such a statement,” he said. “I just cannot believe he would say such a thing as that.”

Spear said he’d had no communication with members of the House redistricting committee about his district’s outlines.

“The only people involved in drawing maps have been the (redistricting) chairs on the House and Senate sides and, I assume, their consultants,” he said.

Spear added he’d told the House leadership he had concerns about a previously released map that would have linked his Dare and Hyde counties with Craven and Pamlico counties well to the south.

Calls to House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, and Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, senior chairman of the House redistricting committee, weren’t returned.

As for his veto-override votes, Spear said, “Every veto override vote that I have cast this session has been the same exact vote that I cast back during the regular session that we just adjourned back in June. Not one vote that I cast has been changed. If I favored the bill during the session and voted for it then, I still favored the bill during the special session and voted for it.”

Asked whether he had thought about switching from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party, Spear said, “Absolutely not.”