Dare County split in NC House redistricting

By on November 5, 2021

Local officials are upset about splitting the county into two NC House districts.

State Rep Hanig announces bid in new NC Senate district

Now that the redistricting maps for the state’s congressional and legislative districts have been ratified by the North Carolina General Assembly, a number of legal challenges are expected to be filed against the new configuration, with charges of racial gerrymandering at the core of those challenges.

For his part, Dare County’s Republican NC House Representative Bobby Hanig says that the “Stephenson court decision” is what prompted the changes that are adopted in the new maps. That decision led to redrawing the maps during the last redistricting because of racial gerrymandering.

Dare County divided into two NC House districts

The Republican-created maps have sliced through Dare County on a north/south axis to place its voters in two different North Carolina House districts.

According to the language in the bill, the upper portions of the county – Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk and a portion of Kill Devil Hills — will be added to Currituck, Perquimans, Washington and Tyrell counties to form the new legislative lines for what will become House District 1.

The southern portion of Dare County, including everything south of the line in Kill Devil Hills and Colington, will be added to what will be known as House District 79.

Hanig said that having portions of Dare County in two different House districts can be a plus for the residents because it will increase their representation. But local officials are already calling foul on the House District 1 map that splits the county.

Dare County Board of Commissioners Chairman Bob Woodard lambasted legislators in a letter sent before the maps were ratified. He pointed to the need to keep the towns and unincorporated Dare County seeking the same goals and working as a cohesive unit.

Two different NC House members representing the county’s residents could produce differing action on items and pit neighbor against neighbor, he said.

Kill Devils Hills Mayor Ben Sproul also objected to splitting up the county. According to Sproul, the divide in Kill Devil Hills would result in 7 percent of the town being in one district while leaving 93 percent in another district. He pointed to the prospect of that creating confusion among of voters when it comes to knowing what races they are allowed to vote in.

Incumbent NC Representative Ed Goodwin, a Republican, is expected to run to retain his seat in the remade District 1. Incumbent Republican Keith Kidwell, who currently serves the majority of residents in District 79, is also expected to run to retain his seat. The map changes the lines of that district to include southern Dare County, Beaufort, Hyde and Pamlico counties.

Shakeup in Senate District 1

Dare County residents are currently represented in the NC Senate by District 1 Republican Bob Steinburg. But in the newly drawn maps, Steinburg’s home county – Chowan – has been removed from that district. Instead, Steinburg will be double bunked with Senator Norman Sanderson, who currently serves the majority of residents in the newly drawn district.

Given that dynamic, State Rep Hanig, a Currituck County resident, wasted little time in announcing his plans to run for the new District 1 Senate seat in a statement on Nov. 5.

Change in Congressional District as well.

Congressional lines also have changed. The new District 1 includes 16 counties including Dare, Beaufort, Camden, Carteret, Chowan, Craven, Currituck, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, Onslow, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Pitt and Tyrell counties. A portion of Onslow county will be divided between the new District 1, which includes Dare County, and District 3.

 

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Comments

  • Currituck Voice

    Gerrymandering. Both sides. How can anyone disagree with just drawing a grid? Look at Districts 30, or 62, or 105. Ridiculous.

    Splitting Dare achieves this goal, like it or not: Takes the population centers (Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, KDH) that normally lean Democratic, and dilutes their votes into a gigantic Republican pool. That way, Dem voters will never be represented, even if the population grew to capacity.

    Friday, Nov 5 @ 5:33 pm
  • Thinking About the Future

    When will this ever end?

    Friday, Nov 5 @ 5:49 pm
  • Rosemarie Doshier

    It is totally unacceptable for a county as small as Dare to be split into two house districts. Whoever came up with this needs to go back to the drawing board! Hopefully our “powers to be” will get out there and let the creators know, this is not something acceptable. Why would you want a county to compete with itself for representation, when representatives could win that have opposing views. I don’t care if you are a Democratic or Republican, this cannot be good for our residents.

    Friday, Nov 5 @ 10:08 pm
  • Martelvonc

    Way to dilute my vote NC GOP. We can see this exactly for what it is. Gerrymandering. I should have as much say about Dare County issues as everyone in the other 80% of the county. cutting us off and tacking us onto 5 other counties is disenfranchisement. If you don’t like the way I vote then maybe you should try legislating for all us.

    Saturday, Nov 6 @ 11:07 am
  • Nicole Geddie

    Shady!!!!!!!

    Saturday, Nov 6 @ 11:46 am
  • Rosemary Rawlins

    Splitting up Dare County will hurt all residents in the long run. Much more public comment and involvement is needed before these kinds of decisions are implemented. I hope more people speak out about this!

    Saturday, Nov 6 @ 12:35 pm
  • Cliff Blakely

    Absolutely ridiculous. Splitting Dare Co. SPLITTING KDH? All for the big power grab. If these legislators had a brain, I would say they had lost it.

    Saturday, Nov 6 @ 1:15 pm
  • hightider

    I get the feeling that I am the only one completely confused. The only way I consider myself a political person is that I think all politicians are crooks. The comments are more enlightening than the article itself so keep explaining please.

    Saturday, Nov 6 @ 3:13 pm
  • Currituck Voice

    @hightider: You asked, so here’s my best: Whichever party controls the legislature during the census decides the Congressional Districts. In the case of NC, it was the 2020 census, and Republicans drew the maps.

    Gerrymandering is a process by which districts are drawn in convoluted shapes (think stove pipes, or the country of Italy) reaching outside logical bounds of a county or area. The intention is to solidify one party’s rule, or negate a population center by including a wide swath of rural vote. This is the case with Dare, but there are other examples if you look at the color blocking on the state map above.

    The John Lewis Voting Rights Act would outlaw ANY partisan gerrymandering, by either party; but the Republicans filibustered (killed) the vote last week in the Senate. They refused to even take debate it.

    Saturday, Nov 6 @ 8:45 pm
  • Nosy OBXer

    Gerrymandering simply put-
    politicians pick their voters. Not voters picking their politician. It’s archaic and stupid just like the electoral college.
    If it’s racial there will be a lawsuit but the courts are filled with Judge Jeanines!!!

    Saturday, Nov 6 @ 11:30 pm
  • hightider

    Hey CV – thank you. I admit I am obtuse on this issue (and others) , but it confirms my belief not to trust the political process. In the last few years and now with covid and the culture wars, the country is so divided that I think all strides forward made in the past are being destroyed, I feel sorry for people with young family members, and the younger generations who will inherit all the mess including the economic issues.

    Sunday, Nov 7 @ 8:39 am
  • Travis

    I don’t see any real upside to splitting Dare County. It creates a potential competition for funds that may benefit parts of the county instead of the whole. Suddenly the overwash problems down south become “their problem” instead a problem for the whole county. The District 79 representative doesn’t need to concern him or herself overmuch because the population of Dare County south of KDH is less than a 3rd of the population of Dare County north of KDH.

    This is not a good map for Republicans or Democrats in Dare. Whatever our political differences nationally, we have shared interest locally that will be impacted. I’m glad to see Mr. Woodard speaking out against it. I hope there is a bipartisan opposition to the new map.

    Monday, Nov 8 @ 10:31 am
  • charlie

    counties should never be split apart… Even County Republican and Democratic party organizations are against it… If the party in charge of the redistricting has split a county it is for one reason only…..a power grab or power retention… The John Lewis Voting Rights Act would have taken redistricting out of political hands… Guess who voted against it?…

    Tuesday, Nov 16 @ 8:22 pm
  • Greg

    A classic case of reducing the voice of the citizens in their localities. The party of “small government “ are hypocrites of the highest order. The record of the GOP caucus in the General Assembly is one of centralized power and one of taking away local rights. Moore and Berger are the absolute worst.

    Tuesday, Nov 23 @ 9:01 am