Political irony

Published 12:08 am Wednesday, January 4, 2012

It might seem ironic that the Raleigh-centered Republican majority’s decision to divide Beaufort County among two state House districts could jeopardize the re-election of two GOP incumbents, Rep. Norman Sanderson, R-Pamlico, and Rep. Bill Cook, R-Beaufort.

The machinations of the GOP gurus behind 2010’s legislative redistricting have left Cook in a convoluted district that may favor a Democratic challenger from another county.

Also, the grouping of southern Beaufort County and part of Craven County with Sanderson’s Pamlico County could leave this lawmaker vulnerable to Democratic assault, given the voting histories of the portions of Craven and Beaufort counties now lumped into the lawmaker’s territory.

Cook is a good door-to-door campaigner who works hard. Whether he chooses to stick with his House re-election bid or launch a try for state Senate, Cook will make a formidable opponent. But will the new House district numbers work against him?

The GOP majority erred in carving Beaufort County in two when there was no numerical justification for doing so within the General Assembly’s legal guidelines for redistricting. Now, our county could be in danger of losing its home-based representative, and the GOP might lose two seats in the House.

Though this outcome is by no means assured, it looks as if the leadership didn’t do its eastern N.C. homework before playing the old party game of using redistricting to secure an advantage come Election Day.

Perhaps the power brokers in Raleigh are more concerned about how things shake out in their true base, west of Interstate 95, than they are about rural, struggling counties’ ability to have some continuity in representation.

Is this how those movers reward party loyalty?