Publisher's Note: This article originally appeared in the Beaufort Observer.
Much of Washington in the First while 86% of the county is in the Third
Will be interesting to see if the same people who opposed a similar N. C. House district now will oppose this configuration
As a wise ole sage once said: "Be careful what you wish for, you may just get it."
They've changed Congressional District 1, represented by Congressman G. K. Butterfield again. This time it was in response to complaints from Butterfield himself and a number of speakers at the recent public hearings on the plan. More counties have now been split, including Beaufort.
The new configuration of District 1 would contain 733,499 residents, the exact number of residents prescribed by the One-person/one-vote law. It would make the district 53.68% black. The original new district plan would have given Butterfield a 51.8% minority district. Meanwhile, Jones' Third District goes from 68.33% white to 74.33% white. While that change will likely not make much difference in the "safeness" of the district for Jones it is said by some observers to be significant over the decade, during which time it is expected that Jones will retire.
The new map adds 6,420 residents of Beaufort County, removing them from District 3 and splitting the county between the First and Third districts. Thus, as a county, Beaufort would have two representatives in Congress, rather than one as in the first cut of the redistricting plans. The new configuration would put 13.44% of Beaufort's residents in the First district represented by G. K. Butterfield, with the remainder in the Third District represented now by Walter B. Jones.
Most of the area that drew so much "opposition" in the N. C. House districting is now split out into the separate congressional district from the remainder of the county. That territory runs along U. S. 264 from Pitt County, south to Tranter's Creek, then the Tar River to the Washington harbor area then north, and back around by the airport connecting to U. S. 264. Thus, much of the City of Washington is isolated from the remainder of Beaufort County in the new district.
When a very similar configuration was proposed for the Sixth N. C. House district the Washington Daily News opposed such a configuration, because they said, it "split the county." Now it will be interesting to see if they oppose this same basic configuration for the congressional district. This ought to be interesting. Be careful what you wish for.
Still under that category it is noted that the new map, revises the old map which the Democrats criticized so strong, puts Democrat Brad Miller (D-13th) in the same district with Rep. David Price, D-4th.
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