Recently, I started wondering how to handle redrawing North Carolina's congressional districts. After all, this state is turning bluer by the minute, and we've got one (and perhaps two) relatively new Dem congressmen to protect. Something else to consider--two of our districts look VERY vulnerable to Repub takeover once the current incuments retire. So here's my idea for redistricting North Carolina in a few years ... feel free to quibble.
* In my view, the General Assembly goofed when it drew most of the 2nd's share of Raleigh into the new 13th, leaving only a tiny sliver. Bob Etheridge likely has this seat for as long as he wants it, but this district contains some pretty conservative territory outside of Raleigh. Johnston County, in particular, is DEEEP red--it's home to Fred Smith, who lost the Repub primary to Pat McCrory and is scary conservative. I would push the 4th's share of Raleigh into the 2nd, while moving all of Chatham County to the 4th. Kill two birds with one stone--make the 2nd easier to defend, while eliminating even the tiniest chance a Repub will succeed David Price.
* As a tradeoff, I'd split Fayetteville between the 7th and 8th districts. The 7th scares me as much as the 2nd, if only because of some areas around Wilmington. Fayetteville's kept the 7th Democratic even through the 1994 debacle, and adding a little more should keep it that way once Mike McIntyre steps down.
* I'd then put all of the northeastern portion of Mecklenburg County into the 8th, while taking out the sliver in the southeast. Combined with the added portion of Fayetteville, this will either make Robin Hayes go bye-bye or give Larry Kissell a lot more breathing room.
* Let's be honest--the 13th is one ugly district. There's really no rational basis for putting Greensboro in the same district as Raleigh. I'd put the 13th's share of Greensboro back in the 6th, while adding its share of Alamance County to the 4th. In return, the 13th picks up Warren County from the 1st, as well as the 1st's share of Vance County. Presto--Brad Miller goes from a marginally Democratic district to a strongly Democratic district.
* The 6th, to my mind, presents the most opportunity for a little redistricting fun while adding the least amount of territory--namely, restoring all of Guiliford County (Greensboro) to the district. At the very least, Howard Coble gets a tougher district to defend, and even if he does retire in this seat it makes it much easier to flip.
* On to the 12th ... my home district. Let's be honest--there is no rational basis for putting Charlotte, Greensboro and Winston-Salem in the same district. In addition to shifting Greensboro and High Point to the 6th, I'd add the 12th's share of Winston-Salem to the 5th. In exchange, I'd place all of the Lake Norman area in the 12th, as well as eastern Gaston County (Mount Holly and Belmont).
* Now the 9th. The key here is to put enough Democrats here that they can combine with the moderate Repubs in Charlotte to send Sue Myrick packing. I'd push the 9th further into downtown Charlotte, picking up bluer-than-blue Dilworth. I'd also add in southwestern Mecklenburg County while sending eastern Gaston County to the 12th and all of Gastonia to the 10th.