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The Daily Tar Heel

House Republicans Release Plan

The proposed map contains a 13th U.S. House district containing portions of Chatham, Lee, Harnett, Wake and Cumberland counties.

North Carolina received a 13th district as a result of the state's population growth during the last decade.

Rep. Ed McMahan, R-Mecklenburg, said the new district was placed in the Triangle area because it was the fastest-growing area in the state. McMahan, co-chairman of the N.C. House's Congressional Redistricting Committee, said 53 percent of registered voters in the proposed district are registered Democrats and 41 percent Republican. The N.C. Congressional Delegation consists of 7 Republicans and 5 Democrats.

Rep. Thomas Wright, D-New Hanover, the other co-chairman of the Congressional Redistricting Committee, said the issue of congressional redistricting was unlikely to move forward until the chamber completes discussion of the N.C. House redistricting plan.

Democrats, with a narrow four-seat majority, have been unable to build a consensus on redistricting for the N.C. House.

McMahan said House Republicans do not understand why Democrats have delayed redrawing the congressional districts. "We are deeply disturbed by the direction the congressional redistricting process is taking," he said. "We would like to move on and get the job done, and we really feel it should have been done months ago."

But Wright -- in an interview following the Republican press conference --said House leaders agreed at the beginning of the legislative session to finish state legislative redistricting before starting congressional redistricting.

McMahan also said Republicans were concerned that because congressional redistricting has not appeared on the legislative agenda during this session it is being discussed by the Democrats behind closed doors. "We have been hearing that the Democrats from Washington are here in Raleigh drawing the congressional districts for North Carolina," McMahan said. "Their sole interest of course is to gain new (Democratic) seats in the Congress."

Wright said he thinks House leaders have not consulted with Democratic Party officials about the redistricting process. "I've not had any conversations with anyone from the (Democratic National Committee)," he said.

Wright said the only nationally prominent Democrats he has spoken with about the redistricting process were Democratic members of the state's congressional delegation. He said the Democrats on the Congressional Redistricting Committee had not yet completed their redistricting plan but would do so as soon as the legislative redistricting is completed.

McMahan said the Republican map closely resembles the district plan.

But North Carolina has had to contend with several lawsuits after drawing district lines a decade ago because of its 12th District, which stretches along Interstate 85 from Charlotte to Greensboro.

He said the caucus hopes the map will receive bipartisan support in the House. "If it does receive bipartisan support, we think it will help avoid very expensive litigation that North Carolina has endured in the 1990s."

The State & National Editor can be reached at stntdesk@unc.edu.

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