Redistricting Ruling Is DeJa Vu For Some Candidates

Jan 10, 2018

This ruling comes as many congressional candidates are getting ready to file for office. The primary is set for May 8 and it’s a familiar situation for two Republicans running in the state’s 9th Congressional district.

“These same judges pulled the rug out from under us two weeks before the last primary,” says Rep. Robert Pittenger. “I’d spent all kinds of money on television, radio, mail and for naught. Totally irresponsible. If they were going to do that, they could’ve done it six months earlier.” 

Mark Harris (left) and Robert Pittenger

As you can tell, Pittenger is no fan of the judges’ ruling, nor the timing. In 2016, the judges found the problem was racial gerrymandering. The state legislature quickly redrew the congressional districts, which the court has now determined are partisan gerrymanders. Geographically, district 9 changed a lot.

Pittenger won the primary by just 134 votes over Mark Harris, who’s gearing up to challenge him again. 

“My hope is the Supreme Court will issue a stay of this decision and things will progress under the current maps that we have,” says Harris.

He doesn’t plan to change his campaign strategy. As for Pittenger, he says his best campaigning is doing his job. 

In the 8th Congressional district, Democrat Scott Huffman wants to unseat Republican Richard Hudson. He says he knows redistricting may move his residence to another district or he may get more competition from Democratic rivals. He says that’s fine. 

“If the district is designed in such a way that lumps me with another Democratic candidate that has a strong ground game, then I’ll get behind that candidate and make sure to win that seat for democracy,” says Huffman. 

Candidates will know more when legislators submit new maps later this month, but not much more since those maps could change too.