The General Assembly recently completed drawing new district maps for the state House and Senate and the state’s 14 congressional districts. While this act is meant to be done every 10 years, a successive series of lawsuits over the last couple of decades has pretty much turned this into an every-couple- of-years process.
So with that caveat in mind — there’s already at least one lawsuit questioning the new districts’ fairness — we did a little research into Moore County’s fortunes.
There are some breathtaking changes associated with these new districts. While Moore County is reunited into one congressional district — the 8th — it will be parting ways with U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, who has represented the region for several years but announced he will run for the 10th District, which includes his home.
In the state Senate, Moore has a new partner. For years, the county was paired either with Randolph to the north or Richmond to the south. Under the new maps, though, our new legislative dance partner is all of Cumberland, minus Fayetteville.
But the greatest change appears to be the state House districts. In previous years, most of Moore was in one district, save for a slice of northwestern Moore. Now, we are broken into three districts, and this could be a problem — a big problem.
Under the new map, parts of Moore County will now fall in House Districts 51, 52 and 78. District 51 is currently represented by Rep. John Sauls, a Lee County Republican.
In District 52, long-serving state Rep. Jamie Boles of Whispering Pines loses much of Moore County and picks up all of Richmond County. His district slightly favors Richmond by population, plus Boles faces a Republican primary challenge from another incumbent, Ben Moss, of Rockingham.
Finally, a large chunk of Moore — including all of Pinehurst, Foxfire and Robbins — has ended up in District 78, represented by Randolph County Republican Allen McNeill.
What this all means is that — so far — two of Moore County’s representatives don’t even live in Moore County. If Moss defeats Boles in a District 52 primary and Sauls, McNeill and Moss win next November, Moore County will have no resident representation.
Boles was somewhat sanguine about the idea of Moore being split three ways.
“A lot of people have hesitancy about multiple representatives, but to me it is an asset,” he told The Pilot recently. “We will have a stronger voice with more voices from Moore County.”
That’s one way of looking at it. But there’s something to be said for having lawmakers whom you can see in the grocery store or at church or social functions. Plus, Moore County has the lesser population figure in all three districts.
Moore County fares better under the state Senate’s district map. Moore remains intact in District 21, paired with Cumberland County, minus most of Fayetteville. And while Moore makes up just under half of the district’s population, the district’s senator, Tom McInnis, is moving to Pinehurst. As one of the top-ranking senators in Raleigh, McInnis will remain a powerful voice for Moore County, especially before the Senate Transportation Committee he chairs.
In the new congressional maps, Moore will say goodbye to Hudson. Instead, U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop, who has represented southern Moore the last couple of years, is reportedly going to move into the 8th and run for that seat. But with much of the district being in Mecklenburg and Union counties, Moore will likely see some diminishing in importance.
Are the new districts fair politically? Redistricting is inherently a political process when politicians are in charge, so there’s little interest in making districts truly competitive. But in terms of compactness and keeping similar community interests together, the goals appear to have been achieved.