Something’s rotten …

Published 12:33 am Saturday, July 30, 2011

Republican leaders in the state House dealt a blow to Beaufort County, and Rep. Bill Cook, R-Beaufort, this week.

At the 11th hour, these “leaders” — we use the word loosely — unveiled a redistricting map that cracked Beaufort County in two.

The new district takes in most of the county north of the Pamlico River plus Hyde, Dare and Washington counties.

The map was approved by the Legislature before anyone in the east could comment on it. In essence, locals were shut out of this process, and Cook was hung out to dry.

Cook sees the reconfigured House District 6 as the GOP leadership’s sop to Rep. Tim Spear, D-Washington, who will be “bunked” in the new district with Beaufort County’s representative.

Certainly, considering it harbors a split Beaufort County and three majority-Democratic counties, the district appears more favorable to Spear than an earlier draft.

Spear vehemently denied having reached a deal with Raleigh in exchange for his votes to override Gov. Beverly Perdue’s vetoes of GOP-sponsored legislation.

But we’re not naïve enough to believe there was no quid pro quo.

Spear may be accurate in his denial, but someone, somewhere up the Republican line, was looking out for him — and at the last minute.

What these “leaders” weren’t looking out for were the interests of Beaufort County, which will see its legislative influence diminished should this map survive possible legal challenges.

The “leaders” also weren’t looking out for Cook, who has stood by them from Day 1.

Cook, a member of the House redistricting committee, carried out the will of his constituents when he asked that his home county be kept whole through the redistricting hoopla.

Yet, it turns out loyal lawmakers are as much an expendable commodity on Jones Street as in Washington, D.C.

We’re not surprised.