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Cawthorn won’t seek re-election in WNC; sets sights on new Congressional District 

Last updated on November 15, 2021

The 2020 Census added a Congressional Seat in North Carolina, which was approved by the North Carolina legislature last week. The majority of western North Carolina residents who have historically been located in District 11 will now be considered District 14. The name of the district is not the only thing that is changing. Representative Madison Cawthorn announced Thursday night that he will not the seeking election in the same district and will instead be running for election in the newly drawn District 13. 

“I believe we have a unique opportunity to increase conservative leadership from North Carolina,” Cawthorn said in a video posted around 7 p.m. on Thursday. “I have every confidence in the world that regardless of where I run the 14th congressional district will send a patriotic fighter to DC. Knowing the political realities of the 13th district I am afraid that another establishment ‘go along to get along’ Republican would prevail there. I will not let that happen. I will be running for congress in the 13th Congressional District.”

According to Cawthorn’s video statement, his decision to run in District 13 was made primarily because his residence is close to the border between District 13 and 14. Rep. Cawthorn lives in Henderson County and while the entirety of Henderson County remains in District 14, the county borders Rutherford County which is located in the newly drawn District 13. Although you do not have to live in the Congressional District you run for election in, in February 2020 while seeking office in District 11 and facing half a dozen opponents from outside of WNC, Cawthorn said, “I grew up and live in the 11th district. This is my home. You shouldn’t be allowed to represent the district if you don’t live in it. How do you know what’s best for the district if you don’t even live there.”

In Cawthorn’s video statement, he also claimed that half of the counties now in District 14 are counties he currently represents in District 11. Polk and McDowell counties and a slice of Rutherford County will move from District 11 to District 13 and accounts for around 100,000 residents. The remaining area of District 13 includes Burke, Cleveland, Gaston, and a slice of Mecklenburg County which will all be new territories for Cawthorn. 

District 11 isn’t the only district changing for WNC residents.

The new maps, which were approved by both the House and Senate leaders, adds Transylvania County to Senate District 50, giving Senator Corbin an entirely new county to represent — and campaign in when re-election rolls around.

“I am looking forward to picking up Transylvania County and to have the opportunity to serve those folks,” said Senator Corbin. “I’m not particularly happy about losing a few precincts in Haywood, but even though those people may no longer be in District 50, I remain committed to representing them anyways. I’m not going to pay attention to an imaginary line.”

An organization called Democracy Docket, formed by Democratic lawyer Marc Elias, announced Friday that a group of voters who successfully challenged previous North Carolina maps will make a similar appeal in state court contesting the latest congressional maps. The new legal challenge focuses on partisan gerrymandering and claims boundaries approved by Republican-controlled legislature Thursday were drawn for political gain in a way that violates the N.C. Constitution.

The Princeton Gerrymandering Project, which analyzes maps and seeks to eliminate partisan gerrymandering across the country, gave all three maps an overall “F” rating, as they would all provide a significant Republican advantage.

North Carolina has a long history gerrymandering, drawing maps to basically pick which party will win. Both parties have done it when they’ve been in power. The maps drawn after the last census in 2010 led to a political and legal fight that lasted almost a decade.

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