It’s official, at least until the first court cases are heard, Guilford County is going from one member of Congress to three.
The North Carolina legislature has approved the new congressional district map and Guilford County, which is currently entirely in the 6th Congressional District, in the new map has portions in the 7th, 10th and 11th districts. The new 6th district includes all of Orange and Durham Counties and part of Wake County.
The governor has no veto power over redistricting, so the vote of the legislature is final. However, a court case challenging the redistricting process has already been filed and now that the new district map has been approved lawsuits challenging the map can be expected shortly.
Drawing new congressional districts for 2022 was more involved the usual redistricting that follows the decennial Census. After the 2020 Census North Carolina because of its growth in population was awarded an additional seat in Congress. So this year in addition to allowing for shifts in population, the legislature had to divide the state in 14 districts rather than 13 districts.
Unlike City Council or Board of Commissioner districts, which are required to have a population within 5 percent of the ideal district, all congressional districts are required to be as close to equal in population as possible. The variation in the 14 congressional districts is one person. The ideal population for a congressional district is 745,671. Eight districts have a population of 745,671 and six districts have a population of 745,670.
Both Wake and Mecklenburg counties were also divided into three congressional districts. So, the three largest counties in the state were each divided into three districts while Forsyth, Cumberland and Durham the fourth, fifth and sixth largest counties respectively are each entirely in one district.
Depending on who is doing the counting the new congressional district map gives the Republicans eight or 10 seats in Congress and the Democrats either six or four.
There are eight districts which are considered safe Republican districts and two districts that lean right. The Democrats have three safe Democratic seats and one that leans Democrat.
Political pundits are predicting that 2022 is going to be a Republican year which means the Republicans could expect to win 10 possibly 11 seats in Congress.
In a year when the Democrats have an advantage that could be reduced to eight Republican seats.