Redistricting will change Stanly County’s state, federal representation
Published 9:24 am Wednesday, November 10, 2021
The North Carolina General Assembly last week approved new congressional and legislative districts that will change who represents Stanly County voters. The new maps will be in effect for the 2022 midterm election cycle.
With the new state House map, Stanly will be represented exclusively by Republican Rep. Wayne Sasser (District 67), who will also represent all of Montgomery County.
Currently, Stanly County is split into two state House districts, with Sasser representing 18 of Stanly’s 22 precincts and Rep. Ben Moss (District 66) representing the other four, which include Badin, Palmerville and parts of Albemarle. Sasser also represents four precincts in Cabarrus and five precincts in Rowan while Moss represents all of Montgomery and Richmond counties.
“I feel real comfortable,” Sasser said about the new map, noting he plans to spend much of his time getting to know his new constituents in Montgomery. He’s already familiar with many of the local officials in Montgomery.
“I think we have more in common with Stanly and Montgomery than we actually did with Stanly and Cabarrus,” Sasser said.
With Stanly’s new House map, Republicans are expected to have about a 72 percent share of the vote, according to the nonpartisan Princeton Gerrymandering Project. When Sasser first ran for office in 2018 (he ran unopposed last year), he received almost 77 percent of the vote.
In the new map, Moss is double-bunked in District 52 with Rep. James Boles, a Republican who currently represents the majority of Moore County. The updated District 52 covers all of Richmond and about a third of Moore. So, Moss likely will be forced to compete with Boles in the 2022 Republican primary before then competing against a Democratic challenger in November.
“I’m a little bit saddened by losing Montgomery and a portion of Stanly,” Moss said, noting the new map threw him by surprise.
District 66 will now cover a small portion of Wake County.
“But when you see the census numbers and looking at how they had to form these new districts and the criteria they used, it’s what they had to do, though it doesn’t mean I have to like it,” Moss said.
The state Senate map keeps Carl Ford’s 33rd Senate District unchanged. If he runs for re-election and wins, he’ll be the state senator for Rowan and Stanly counties.
With North Carolina growing enough in the past decade to gain a 14th congressional district, legislators had to shrink existing congressional districts to make adequate room, which caused some changes for Stanly. Though it is still part of the 8th Congressional District, the boundaries have changed from extending east all the way to Cumberland County to now extending south. The updated 8th district includes Stanly, Union, Anson, Montgomery, Richmond, Moore, Hoke and Scotland counties with a small portion of Mecklenburg County.
Richard Hudson, who has represented the 8th District since 2013, said he plans to run for the 10th district, which now includes Cabarrus County, where he lives, according to the Salisbury Post. Dan Bishop, who currently serves as representative for NC’s 9th District, plans to move so he can run for office in the 8th District, according to Spectrum News.
Republicans are expected to have about a 59 percent share of the vote within the new 8th District, according to the Princeton Gerrymandering Project. When Hudson won re-election last year, he received 53 percent of the vote.
The three maps passed on party-line votes. Gov. Roy Cooper has no veto power over redistricting.
The first lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s new political districts as unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering was filed Friday by a group affiliated with former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
The Princeton Gerrymandering Project gave the congressional map and the two state legislative maps an “F” grade overall and in partisan fairness.