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McHenry: Race will be a factor in N.C. redistricting

For those that may have missed Chris Fitzsimon’s  “Top of the Morning” post yesterday, U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry (a Republican from Western North Carolina’s Cherryville) told Politico that race would be used to reconfigure the state’s congressional districts.

“It’s politically probable that there will be a new minority influence district. … It’s logical based on the demographics of our state,” said Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), who has become the point man in Congress for the state’s redistricting

McHenry and other North Carolina Republicans defend their redistricting efforts, saying the Tar Heel State’s booming population and the surge in Republican voters — not to mention the fact that Democrats drew the current districts — justify a new map that could give the state nine Republicans and four Democrats in Congress.

“Republicans should pick up three seats under any fair and legal map,” McHenry said. “That is huge. No other states in the nation would gain as many Republican seats. This would be in a state that Barack Obama won in 2008 and where we have had a Democratic governor since 1992 — the longest such period in the nation. A 9-4 delegation is pretty good and would attempt to avoid the risk of a bad year for Republicans. Clearly, Reps. Kissell and Miller are serving their final term.”

The News & Observer had this follow-up today, saying that state GOP legislators are distancing themselves from McHenry.

State Sen. Bob Rucho, the Republican who leads the Senate redistricting committee, quickly distanced himself from McHenry’s comments.

“If he’s drawing maps, we’d like to see them,” said Rucho, a dentist from Matthews. “He doesn’t speak for me. He doesn’t speak for Rep. (David) Lewis.”

Lewis, a Republican from Dunn, is the House redistricting committee chairman.

The road to redistricting has just begun, and the public comment period on redistricting is open, and people can either speak at hearings held around the state or submit their comments on the N.C. General Assembly’s website, www.ncleg.net.

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