Congressional map changes

Published 4:23 am Tuesday, July 26, 2011

RALEIGH – Totally in; totally out; partially included – the congressional representation of Gates County has changed again.

As the Redistricting Committees within the North Carolina General Assembly attempt to redraw the boundaries of the U.S. Congress, State Senate and State House districts, several plans have emerged. The latest, one coming on the heels of concerns lodged by the NAACP and others, including 1st District Congressman G.K. Butterfield, has drawn a portion of Gates County back into Butterfield’s District.

Earlier this month, Gates County was totally removed from the 1st District and placed in the 3rd District, one currently represented by Congressman Walter B. Jones, a Republican. Butterfield is a Democrat.

The new plan, released July 19, places a portion of Gates County back in the 1st District while the remainder of the county is in the 3rd District. The 1st District portion of the county resembles a piece of a jigsaw puzzle – basically the central area starting at its southern border with Hertford and Chowan counties and heading north towards US 158. The proposed map (one without reference points) appears to show 1st District area of the county to include Gatesville and an area north and south of US 158 from just east of Roduco to the Sunbury area. The county’s entire US 13 corridor, all of its northern sections along the NC-VA border and a large area of eastern Gates County – to include most of its border with Chowan County and all portions touching Perquimans, Pasquotank and Camden counties – are in the 3rd District.

Meanwhile, the new borders of the entire 1st District have been modified. It now includes all of Bertie, Hertford, Northampton, Halifax and Warren along with portions of Pasquotank, Perquimans, Chowan, Washington, Martin, Edgecombe, Nash, Franklin, Vance, Granville, Durham, Wilson, Greene, Pitt, Wayne, Lenoir and Craven counties along with the puzzle piece of Gates County.

Originally, a portion of the 1st District extended to part of Wake County, but that area has now been removed from the map.

The new 1st District map also modifies the demographics of the area. Both the original map, released July 1, and the newly drawn borders both noted the 1st District’s total population at 733,499. The new map shows the District is comprised of 393,742 (or 53.68% of the overall population) black citizens while 274,840 (37.47%) are white. The original map revealed the District included 379,926 (51.8%) black citizens while 285,668 (38.9%) were white.

The newly drawn borders also increases the number of registered Democrats in the 1st District – now at 324,742 (69.8%) as compared to 307,459 (67.8%) with the original map.

The newly carved out 1st District contains 73,851 (15.87%) unaffiliated voters and 66,203 (14.23%) registered Republicans.

Meanwhile, the 3rd District remains majority white – 545,180 (74.33%) compared to 136,488 black citizens (representing 18.61% of the total population). As far as political affiliation, the 3rd District includes 195,864 (43.13%) registered Democrats; 140,939 (31.03%) Republicans and 116,564 (25.67%) unaffiliated voters.

Members of the North Carolina General Assembly return this week to Raleigh to vote on redistricting and other issues.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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