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General Assembly redistricting brings new representative to Rowan County

SALISBURY — Rowan County’s districts for representation in the North Carolina General Assembly will stand as proposed despite last-minute changes in nearby counties.

The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina adopted changes to the 2017-enacted map on Jan. 19. Special master Nate Persily recommended the changes, which affected Senate districts in Cumberland, Hoke and Guilford counties and House districts in Sampson, Wayne and Guilford counties.

Changes for Rowan remain as proposed in August. The county is now split among the 76th, 77th and 83rd House districts and in the 33rd Senate District, meaning it gained a representative and lost a senator.

Redistricting at both the House and Senate levels has been ongoing since August 2016. At that time, the Middle District court found nine state Senate districts and 19 state House districts were unconstitutional racial gerrymanders.

Prior maps packed large numbers of minorities into a comparatively small number of districts, thereby reducing the influence of their votes.

Then-Rowan County districts, the 25th and 34th for the Senate and 76th and 77th in the House, were not among those identified as gerrymanders.

Even so, new maps have changed Rowan County’s representation. In 2018, Rowan voters will elect one senator and three representatives.

Senate District 33, which used to include Davidson and Montgomery counties, will cover Rowan and Stanly counties under the new maps. Davidson and Montgomery now fall in Senate District 29.

The change effectively takes Rowan representation away from incumbent Sens. Dan Barrett, R-34, and Tom McInnis, R-25. Barrett and McInnis are from Davie and Richmond counties, respectively.

Both have filed for re-election in their newly drawn districts. Barrett is running for senator in District 31, which covers Davie and parts of Forsyth counties. McInnis is seeking re-election in the 25th District, which now includes Anson, Richmond, Scotland and Moore counties.

District 33 is, to date, an uncontested race. Current Rep. Carl Ford, R-76, is campaigning for the seat, having decided not to run against fellow House incumbent Larry Pittman in the new District 83.

The 83rd House District’s extension into Rowan will be new. In 2016, it included parts of Concord, Kannapolis, Locust, Harrisburg and Midland.

Now, it has nudged northward, losing Harrisburg and Midland and taking in Landis and China Grove.

House Districts 76 and 77 both lose municipalities. Formerly bicounty 76 is now limited to Rowan, and 77 loses its Granite Quarry leg. District 77 now extends into Davie County.

To date, the following candidates have filed for General Assembly seats representing Rowan County:

• Carl Ford, a Republican, Senate District 33.

• Joe Fowler, a Democrat, House District 76.

• Harry Warren, Republican, House District 76.

• Julia Craven Howard, Republican, House District 77.

• Gail Young, Democrat, House District 83.

• Senah Andrews, Democrat, House District 83.

• Michael Anderson, Republican, House District 83.

Filing for the state Senate or House is open until noon Feb. 28. Filing can be completed at the Rowan County Board of Elections office, with a fee of $207 for each seat.

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