by Dr. Andy Jackson
Director of the Civitas Center for Public Integrity, John Locke Foundation
In an editorial attacking 11th District Congressman Madison Cawthorn, the Capitol Broadcasting Company let loose this bit of misinformation:
His seat in Congress is the inevitable result of election districts so drastically gerrymandered that the lack of competition leads to candidates who are unexamined, embarrassingly unqualified and lack commitment to the responsibilities of elective representation.
Madison Cawthorn’s district is not gerrymandered.
The 11th Congressional District that elected Cawthorn was drawn in December of 2019 in response to a lawsuit. Here is what it looks like:
The district map minimalizes split counties (only Rutherford is split), preserving communities of interest. It is also as compact as you could expect, given the shape of Western North Carolina. You could make it slightly more compact by removing Avery County and adding more precincts from Rutherford County but both areas are highly Republican so the change would not impact congressional races.
Western North Carolina has shifted towards Republicans to the point where any reasonably-drawn 11th District would favor the Republican candidate in the general election.