We may get to have a Primary Election May 17th after all. The NC General Assembly approved new district maps on Thursday. They still have to be accepted by the NC Supreme Court, but that now appears likely. If the new maps are approved, filing will resume on February 24th and end at noon on March 8th.
The original redistricting approved by the Republican-dominated legislature was tossed by the Democratic majority Supreme Court and lawmakers had until Friday to redraw the maps. The original plan would have almost certainly assured that 10 of North Carolina's 14 Congressional districts would have been won by Republicans. The new maps leave the NC House seat districts almost totally as they were, but there were some changes in the NC Senate districts. The big change is in the Congressional districts which still includes four seats that are likely to vote Democratic; but the new maps do make four of the other ten more competitive, meaning that in Democratic-leaning years, Democrats might win those seats. The other six are still almost certain to go Republican in elections for the next decade.
District 14: Centered around Gastonia, this district would stretch west to Shelby and Forest City, and east into Mecklenburg County and the Charlotte suburbs, where nearly half of this proposed district’s population lives. It would lean slightly right and in addition to part of Mecklenburg it includes all or part of Gaston, Cleveland and Rutherford counties.
Jason Saine's NC House 97th district is still Lincoln County alone; but State Senator Ted Alexander's 44th district changes a bit. Instead of a couple of precincts in northeastern Gaston County, it will now include northwestern Gaston in addition to all of Cleveland and Lincoln.
NC House district 110 includes most of Cleveland and western Gaston County. Southeastern and northeastern Gaston will have their own NC House seats. Catawba County will have two NC House seats, one of them for the northwestern portion of the county and the other for eastern Catawba which will also include a couple of precincts in western Iredell.
The 43rd district NC Senate seat will include all of Gaston not included in the 44th. Catawba County will have its own 45th district.
Patrick McHenry's 10th district will still include Lincoln, Catawba, Iredell, Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, Avery, Davie and most of Yadkin County plus small portions of McDowell and Rowan. It is one of the top three most Republican-leaning districts. Gaston and Cleveland counties will be in the 14th district which will also include most of Rutherford County, but it will also include the southwestern portion of Mecklenburg, which is actually where a majority of the registered voters in the district live. It's considered very Republican-leaning, but perhaps not quite as much as the 10th.
Some local candidates filed in December before the district maps got nixed and the election dates changed. They won't have to file again.
At its next meeting, the Elections Board will be asked to consider possibly moving the early voting location for the city of Lincolnton. Their current plan has it at the William Lentz gym at Betty Ross Park. The problem is that if that location is used, recreation activities won't be allowed in the gym. The City Council at its February meeting decided to ask for a change--possibly to the Citizens Center or City Hall. Parking may be a problem at City Hall, but with the courts moving to the new courthouse, parking should not be a problem at the Citizens Center. The early voting begins April 28th.