Legislative Redistricting

As if folks haven't already heard enough about elections and politics... a new and interesting development has taken place in terms of redistricting for the state house and senate in Orange County. Though it's too early to really bet on these districts due to the amazing amount of litigation that's likely to take place by Republican detractors of the maps, it might be worth talking about the implications of the new map if it is implemented.

The House map seems to have the most change for us in Orange County. If the Herald-Sun got it right today, Joe Hackney and Verla Insko would both continue to be the only incumbent in their district, but a new district would be carved out of Chapel Hill and Carrboro proper (click here for the detailed map). On the upside, district 56 would be the most liberal district ever to have existed in the state, so it could be an interesting fight to see who wins this. On the down side, I'm assuming Insko and Hackney will have more difficulty winning by the large margins they have in the past since their districts will have lost much of the core Chapel Hill-Carrboro in town base.

In the Senate, it looks like Kinnaird picked up Person and lost Chatham. That shouldn't be a problem for her since Person is small and has a pretty solid Democratic majority according to registration rolls (though these could be Reagan Dems?).

Anyhow, I was thinking it would be fun to hypothesize about who might be the best bet for the new uber-liberal seat. I have my own ideas... anybody else want to speculate?



Eight times Republican "detractors" have filed legal action against redistricting attempts, and eight times they have won. Illegal attempts at redistricting will not work, even during the holiday's when they thought they could get away with it.

The Dems even lost a party member in the State Senate over this. He switched parties over the obvious attempt to scam the public.


By "Reagan Democrats" perhaps you mean "Civil War Democrats"?

I don't disagree that the redrawing of districts was a silly and biased political fiasco. However, since this is orangpolitics.org, I was hoping that this forum would focus more on the implications of the latest round of redistricting on our local delegation and future possibilities.

On the subject of redistricting (with a slightly different spin), Student Body President Matt Tepper is pushing the Orange County Board of Elections to investigate what it would take to make Campus one big district.

Today's Daily Tarheel has an article: http://www.dailytarheel.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2003/11/26/3fc4aa48ea663

Y'all know that I'm a student, so I think it is a good idea. But I'll be honest---I haven't looked into the issue enough. I know that we have a lot of kids who are registered to vote with no idea of how to get to polling sites. Yes, I realize One-Stop Voting at the Morehead Planetarium prevents some of that trouble. These past two years, that's where I've voted myself, but why not make campus a district? At worst, why don't we make sure that polling sites are within walking distance of where these kids live?

After looking more closely at the maps, I may have been wrong about my assessment that District 56 is open. I'm now assuming that the Herald Sun got it wrong and that District 56 is still Insko's to keep. This would mean the new district would be northern Orange and Caswell, which would be another interesting district to watch. Or possibly there is a Caswell incumbent in that district? Anybody know what's up with that?


Newly created NC House District 50 would be comprised of Northern Orange County along with the Coles Store and Orange Grove precincts as well as all of Caswell County. Currently, Caswell County is represented by Rep Cole out of Reidsville (in Rockingham County). The creation of the new House 50 seat would indeed create a district with no incumbent.

So the question that begs to be answered (in my mind) is which Democrat is intended to fill that seat (understanding that the state Democratic party created the map)?


Having just inspected the House District 50 map as drawn by the NC House of Representatives, I conclude that Orange County Commissioner Barry Jacobs lives in that district. Of course, I don't know who may wish to run in that district, or whether the eventual district will actually look like the one I looked at on the NCGA website. If, however, district 50 looks like this one, then . . .

I hereby publicly call upon The Honorable Barry Jacobs to run for the North Carolina House of Representatives!

Barry has worked long and hard for Orange County as a member of (and at times the Chair of) the OWASA Board of Directors, as well as a member of (and at times the Chair of) the Orange County Board of Commissioners. In both these roles he has persuasively and effectively advocated for planned growth, environmental protection, strong public education and an inclusive and diverse community & economy. He has also had occassion to speak out for civil rights, civil liberties and the interests of the less fortunate.

So what do you say? Jacobs for NC House? I'm in.

-Mark Chilton

Me too. Barry is an independent and creative thinker who has managed to vote his convictions without slipping into knee-jerk stupidity.

I think that is a GREAT idea.

This is not the first time this idea has surfaced. Before the last round of redistricting, lamppost conversations about various possible scenarios were all the rage. The notion of Barry as a possible candidate should such an opportunity arise frequently bubbled to the surface. It was a good idea then, as it is now. Here's a hitch: Has anybody bothered to ask Barry about this?



Today's Chapel Hill News had an editorial about the redistricting and they also tap Barry Jacobs as a strong candidate.


I didn't get a chance to ask his thoughts, but I did see Barry yesterday and he's aware of our conversation on this topic... Maybe he'll weigh in?

That district won't be there, people! It's a Hackney-hacked special, done up right proper for the husband of one of Hackney-sack's employees! That district will be the first to go when the Republicans (or one of their judge boyz) get a crack at it, just to p.o. ol' Joe.

"Early speculation focuses on Orange County Commissioner Barry Jacobs, who lives near Hillsborough and has a strong political base in northern Orange."

I find this comment and others to be interesting. No doubt, Barry Jacobs is politically popular in Southern Orange County and has done a wonderful job for Chapel Hill and Carrboro voters as a County Commissioner. However, that success may not translate into an easy victory in House District 50. The people who live in Northern Orange County and Caswell County (largely conservative Democrats) will be the ones to do the voting. I am not so sure that Mr. Jacobs political idealogy is as popular with the voters in Northern Orange as the voters (and reporters) in Southern Orange would like to believe.


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