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Holding Won't Seek Relection, New Congressional Map A Factor

Credit Courtesy of George Holding

North Carolina's newly redrawn congressional map has convinced at least one Republican incumbent not to run for reelection next year. U.S. Rep. George Holding issued a statement today acknowledging that changes to the 2nd Congressional District factored into his decision not to seek another term in 2020.

North Carolina's Republican-led General Assembly redrew the map amid litigation over districts a court found to be unconstitutionally gerrymandered with extreme partisan bias. The new map is widely expected to shave the GOP congressional advantage from 10-3 to 8-5.

The redrawn map grafted a heavily Democratic area of Wake County that had been split off back onto the 2nd District. Michael Bitzer, a professor of politics and history at Catawba College, said that based on the new map, Holding's move is somewhat expected: 

"This isn't surprising that a Republican looking at an urban district says, 'You know what, this just isn't for me, I don't have a shot at winning in this kind of a district.'"

The other district expected to flip from Republican to Democrat is North Carolina's 6th Congressional District, now considered solidly Democratic with all of Guilford County and part of neighboring Forsyth County. Incumbent Republican Rep. Mark Walker who represents the 6th Congressional District has not indicated yet whether he will run a likely uphill battle for reelection. Bitzer said Walker is likely to forego vying for reelection in the 6th District, but may very well end up challenging a fellow Republican for another office.

"Does he choose to perhaps challenge Ted Budd in the neighboring 13th Congressional District? Does he choose to maybe go statewide and run for a statewide office, maybe against Thom Tillis?"

The filing deadline for 2020 Congressional candidates is Dec. 20, 2020

Copyright 2019 North Carolina Public Radio

Rusty Jacobs is a politics reporter for WUNC. Rusty previously worked at WUNC as a reporter and substitute host from 2001 until 2007 and now returns after a nine-year absence during which he went to law school at Carolina and then worked as an Assistant District Attorney in Wake County.