Kathy Manning, the Democratic candidate for the 13th Congressional District in 2018, is wasting little time — as expected — in launching Monday her campaign for the redrawn 6th District.
Manning is running for a district that would include all of Winston-Salem, half of Kernersville and all of Guilford County as approved by the N.C. General Assembly on Nov. 14.
“For too long, the Triad area has been underrepresented in Congress due to unconstitutionally gerrymandered maps drawn by Republican insiders,” Manning said.
“Since the announcement of new congressional maps last month, I've been humbled and encouraged by the outpouring of support from the Triad community."
Manning disclosed her candidacy even though a panel of three state judges put on hold Nov. 21 the filing period for congressional districts that was set to begin at noon today.
That means the state Board of Elections cannot accept for now any filing notices by incumbents or challengers for the state's 13 congressional districts. The filing period for the March 3 primary remains — for now — scheduled to end at noon Dec. 20.
Liberal advocacy group National Redistricting Foundation filing a lawsuit shortly after the Republican-controlled General Assembly passed a congressional redistricting map Nov. 14. A motion for summary judgment on the plaintiffs' motion is set to be heard at 9 a.m. today.
The panel of judges encouraged legislators to redraw the congressional map to avoid delaying the March 3 congressional primaries. The State Board of Elections said it needs a congressional redistricting map by mid-December.
Rural voters have made the 5th and 6th districts among the most reliable Republican seats in North Carolina over the past 35 years.
However, in the 2018 congressional races affecting Forsyth and Guilford counties, there were a combined 196,238 votes cast in those counties for Democratic candidates DD Adams (77,054, 5th), Ryan Watts (38,402, 6th) and Manning (80,782, 13th), and a combined 138,832 votes for Republicans Virginia Foxx (60,303), Mark Walker (31,956), and Ted Budd (46,573, 13th).
That reality could spur the same Democrats to run again in 2020, or could attract new candidates encouraged by the potential Democratic lean.
Angela Flynn is the only other announced 2020 Democratic candidate for the 6th; no Democratic has declared for the 5th or 10th.
“In 2018, we ran a strong congressional campaign because, even when the odds were against us due to rigged maps, we believed voters deserved a choice and leaders should be held accountable," Manning said.
“Our community needs a bold leader who will stand up and fight for us, during the good and tough times. We deserve leaders who will fight for affordable healthcare, quality education, and an economy that works for all — not just those at the top."
Forsyth voters will have to wait to see if Walker files to run in his redrawn 6th District, or opt to face another Republican incumbent in Patrick McHenry in the 10th District or Budd in the 13th District.
McHenry plans to run for his ninth term in the 10th. The redrawn 10th would swap in a portion of Forsyth, the vast majority of Iredell and all of Rockingham, Stokes, Surry and Yadkin counties.
Because U.S. House representatives don’t have to live in the district they represent, they could choose to run elsewhere from where they are based now.
Walker has hinted that instead of running for a fourth term in what would be a Democratic-leaning 6th, he might run in the 10th or the 13th since he as represented counties in both districts, either currently or in the recent past.
“Rep. Walker is going to run where his constituents are," said Jack Minor, a spokesman for Walker’s 2020 reelection campaign.
Walker told Politico that “they have taken the bulk of my district and put the constituents in two other districts, so we’re kind of looking at all these options.”
“I mean, you want to do what’s right, ethically. But if you have the bulk of the people that you represent, have just been — a line’s been moved over — I mean, is that something you take a look at?”
John Dinan, a political science professor at Wake Forest University and a national expert on state legislatures, said that "if the 6th District ends up looking the way it does in the map currently being discussed in the legislature, we can expect a contest in the Democratic primary between some candidates with an electoral base in Greensboro and other candidates with an electoral base in Winston-Salem."
“But there’s no telling which of these types of candidates would prevail in the Democratic primary and likely the general election.”