For those of you in Lee County who haven’t yet scrutinized the proposed new maps for NC house districts, let me be the first to provide some relevant details — right from the NC General Assembly’s (NCGA) website. In particular, House District 51 has been gerrymandered into a much more conservative-voting district, one in which Rep. Mike Stone should have no trouble seeking re-election. Unfortunately for former District 51 representatives Jimmy Love and Leslie Cox, if they wish to compete again for an NC House seat, it will have to be against former NC House Speaker Joe Hackney, because the re-districting has them newly aligned under NC House District 54. If these lines remain unchanged, the majority of Lee County will now be in a conservative House District for the next 10 years.
Here’s some demographic data of interest. The new District 51 has been drawn to include 76,888 in total population. 72% are Caucasian, 16% are Black, 12% Multi-racial or other. Just 14% of the total population claims Latino descent. More than 76% of Lee County will now fall in House District 51, while just under 24% will be in House District 54. Just 64% of the City of Sanford remains in House District 51, while the remaining 36% transfers to House District 54.
In addition to Love and Cox, several other prominent political and civic-minded personalities are now shifted out of House District 51 into House District 54. They include– former Lieutenant Governor Dennis A. Wicker, Sanford Mayor Cornelia Olive, community activist David Nestor; local blogger Keith Clark, Democratic Party 3rd Vice Chair Randall Yow, businessman Tommy C. Mann, Sanford Councilman Walter McNeil, Democratic Party 1st Vice Chairman Robert T. Reives, Jr., and prominent Democratic operative Vincent Fisher McMillian. These and many of Sanford’s downtown liberals will now be represented by ex-Speaker Hackney, rather than by Mr. Stone.
Analysis of the voting patterns of the new House District 51 is quite revealing of its conservative inclination. Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory captured 49.84% of the 2008 vote among these voters, as compared to 47.19% who favored Bev Purdue. In the same election these voters preferred McCain over Obama for U.S. president by the margin of 56.75% to 42.29%; Dole beat Hagan for U.S. senator 49.7% to 46.92%; and Pittinger beat Dalton for Lieutenant Governor 49.71% to 47.19%. During the 2010 election, Burr beat Marshall by the margin of 59.22% to 38.8%. Clearly, conservative republicans will fare well in this newly formed district.
For more information on House District 51, see the NCGA re-districting web page and select from among a dozen or more options.