by Michael Lowrey
Basically, it’s very likely that the GOP will hold the N.C. House through the remainder of this decade. As Carolina Strategy observes:
When Republicans drew the current districts, they packed Democrats into as few districts as possible, making the other districts more competitive for Republicans. In doing so, they also shifted the battleground for control of the state legislature. Under non-partisan maps, this battle would be fought in suburban districts in the state’s larger counties. Instead, to gain control Democrats will have to encroach on some unfriendly territory – Republican-leaning districts in exurban areas with few swing voters. It would be helpful if these were the districts showing signs of a Democratic trend. Instead, the districts that are trending Democratic are mostly those where Democrats are already guaranteed of victory.
Of course, in statewide elections this doesn’t matter. A vote is a vote, no matter where one lives. But under a district system, location is everything. Even though North Carolina as a whole is gradually moving toward the Democrats, under the new maps this trend is confined mostly to districts that are already solidly Democrat. If these trends hold, then it’s unlikely that Democratic prospects of taking back the House will improve substantially through the end of the decade.