Democrats focus on state elections in push to control Congressional mapmaking

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In an attempt to seize control of Congressional district mapmaking, Democrats are mobilizing with a renewed focus on statehouses.

According to a Friday report in NPR, one of the biggest contests this year is in North Carolina. The state is expected to get at least one new seat in Congress, and Democrats want a fight.

A decade ago, the GOP flipped 20 state legislative chambers, cementing their dominance at state and congressional levels.

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Like Pennsylvania’s in 2018, North Carolina’s electoral map was redrawn after Republicans came to power in the state legislature in 2010. It has since become known as one of the most partisan gerrymandered maps in the country.

While Democrats broke through Republican ranks in the state’s House and Senate two years ago, 2020 progressive candidates will have to win in districts President Trump won easily in 2016, NPR reported.

Plus, in June of 2019, the Supreme Court had ruled in a 5-4 decision that disputes over gerrymandering were outside the purview of the judicial branch.

However, in September of the same year, a North Carolina state judge struck down the state’s legislative political maps — even as Republicans protested that the Supreme Court’s ruling took precedence.

Because of that move, there may be an “in” for Democrats where there wasn’t previously.

For candidates like Nicole Quick — who is running for a House seat in Gibsonville, the state’s third-largest city — district lines are critical, NPR reported.

Quick’s campaign — like many others — is receiving financial support from Democratic groups like Future Now and the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC), which is led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

Future Now has spent more than $100,000 in North Carolina, and the NDRC has spent more than $420,000.

In this July 26, 2017 photo, a member of the gallery tries to display her sign while lawmakers convene during a joint select committee meeting on redistricting in Raleigh, N.C. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

In this July 26, 2017 photo, a member of the gallery tries to display her sign while lawmakers convene during a joint select committee meeting on redistricting in Raleigh, N.C. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Quick told NPR she is in favor of handing district mapmaking over to an independent commission, like in California, noting that “Democrats were guilty of [gerrymandering] in the past.”

That said, her Republican counterparts argue that Democrats’ issues with maps are just about flipping political authority, noting that they would have no faith in any commission appointed by their colleagues across the aisle.

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North Carolina is not the only state bracing for legislative elections in November.

Wisconsin, Florida, Kansas, and Texas all are being targeted by Democrats who hope to clinch a House majority in the fall.

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