This post is for those who would like to get a little more into the weeds about what the Federal Court’s instructions given yesterday to the Special Master mean for Democrats' chances to break the supermajority in the NC House in 2018.
The great news is that the maps should get much better for Democrats – relative to the maps proposed by the GOP – for at least three reasons:
1. The Court ordered the Special Master to return competitive House Districts 36, 37, 40, and 105 in Wake and Mecklenburg Counties to their current boundaries. These districts should not have been touched by the NC GOP, which had tried to illegally re-draw them to further their partisan advantage.
While Roy Cooper won these four districts by an average of 4% in 2016, he and McCrory would have tied in the newly proposed GOP versions of these maps – so returning them to their current boundaries represents a 4-point swing for the Democrats in these very competitive districts!
2. In order to return these districts to their current form, the Special Master will also have to re-draw neighboring districts in Wake and Mecklenburg counties, including GOP-held house districts 35, 103, and 104, which are also very competitive. Republicans had also managed to surgically re-draw these districts to increase their partisan advantage by 4 points – from Cooper +2% to McCrory +2%. While the Special Master might not return these districts exactly to their current boundaries, Democrats should make significant gains in these districts relative to the GOP-proposed maps.
3. By far the biggest potential gains for Democrats from a fair drawing of the maps are in Guilford County. There, Republicans redrew the maps to pack an incredible number of black, Democratic voters into House District 57 – which the Court has determined is still badly racially gerrymandered.
This map shows the fraction of voters in each precinct who voted for Roy Cooper in 2016 – HD 57 is the dark blue district right in the middle of Guilford County. It will be impossible for the Special Master to address the severe racial gerrymandering of HD 57 without improving Democrats' chances in one or more the neighboring districts currently held by Republicans – HD 59, 61, and 62 – all of which could become much more flippable for Democrats in 2018!
There is still a lot of hard work to be done to win in 2018 and 2020, but the maps delivered by the Special Master should give the Democrats an excellent chance to break the supermajority in the NC House in 2018 and a very real chance to take it back all together in 2020!
Join us as we work to make this a reality and to restore a functioning democracy to our state!