North Carolina gains one new house seat

Veronica Wernicke, News Editor

Following the release of the latest Census data, North Carolina will be one of the six states which will add a seat in the House due to population gains. By the numbers, North Carolina’s population increased by 1 million new residents (10,439,388 as of April 1, 2020), which is an increase of 9.5% in the last 10 years. 

With the updated statistics, North Carolina is now the ninth most populated state in the country. 

This additional seat will bring the total of North Carolina’s congressional districts to 14. Currently, North Carolina’s representation in the House is held by eight Republicans and five Democrats. As of yet, there is not any indication on where the 14th district will be located, and that will be determined once the state legislature redraws the district lines.

“North Carolina is a little bit more complicated than other states, but the short answer is they’re going to have to redraw the map, because now we have to wedge in a new district, so we can’t just keep the same map,” said Nadine Gibson, assistant professor in the UNC Wilmington Department of Public and International affairs. “That means that everything needs to be sort of shuffled around so that we can have that additional congressional district.”

Data needed to redraw the districts is expected to be released in late summer or early fall, according to reports from the AP. 

Redrawing of the maps needs to be done in preparation for the 2022 midterm elections when people in that new district will vote for someone to fill the seat.

“They redrew the districts and enacted those districts in 2011*,” said Gibson. “So, we’re a little behind this time, so I don’t know how quickly things are gonna get done. My guess is that because we have a Republican-controlled legislature, they’re going to want to get on it really quickly. It seems like redistricting, and unfortunately, I’m going to say, gerrymandering is something that Republicans in North Carolina have been pretty outspoken that they do like to do, when possible.”

Gibson added that the Supreme Court of the United States does not deal with partisan gerrymandering, and it is not unconstitutional at the federal level. Only racial gerrymandering is unconstitutional at the federal level. Meanwhile, both racial gerrymandering and partisan gerrymandering are unconstitutional at the state level in North Carolina. 

With the added seat, the state gains one more electoral college vote for the 2024 election season, bringing that total to 16. 

“In terms of North Carolina, having a say it’s good. It adds more weight that we have in the electoral college,” said Gibson. “But on the other hand, because we do a winner take all form of allocating votes, whoever wins even by a slim majority in North Carolina wins.”

Other states that gained additional house seats include Colorado, Florida, Montana, Oregon and Texas. On the reverse, California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia each lost one seat. 

*Redistricting was last done in 2019 for the 2020 election cycle.