Former South Carolina Representative Says Political Map Of State Drawn By “Partisan Hack” To Help GOP

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After a South Carolina committee released its proposed new district maps last week, other state lawmakers began weighing in on the proposals, The Associated Press reported.

South Carolina Democratic senators said Monday they wanted to examine the maps and find out what information was used to draw them before the maps could gain their support. Under the new proposal, the state would likely continue to have six Republicans and one Democrat in its seven seats in the United States House.

The bulk of the changes some Democrats have contested against are happening in Borough 1, which includes parts of Charleston and Hilton Head Island. The district is the only seat overturned by a Democrat since 1986, when Joe Cunningham won in 2018 and served a term, losing his candidacy for re-election in 2020.

Speaking to the Senate state subcommittee on Monday, Cunningham said the maps appeared to have been drawn by “partisan hacking” and added that Republicans should focus on securing a majority in the House in 2022 by winning voters with their ideas and positions, not by using a computer and cards to give themselves an advantage.

“The people in Washington, DC who draw these cards don’t like competition,” said Cunningham, who is running for governor in 2022 against Republican President Henry McMaster and at least two Democrats. “They don’t want a close election. They want a secure election. And they want to make sure that what happened in 2018 does not happen again. Even if they have to rig the system to do so.”

The rest of the state Senate is expected to return for a session on the new cards next Monday.

For more Associated Press reporting, see below.

Former United States Democratic Representative Joe Cunningham testified before a South Carolina Senate subcommittee examining new maps for United States House districts on Monday in Columbia, South Carolina. Cunningham called on senators to reject the new maps, saying they appeared to have been drawn by a partisan hack to help Republicans.
Jeffrey Collins / Associated press

Republicans on the committee said little about the plans and no votes were taken by the subcommittee. The panel made small OK changes Monday in the state Senate districts they have already approved.

“I think I have to analyze why Charleston County was carved out the way it was,” said State Senator Margie Bright Matthews, a Democrat from Walterboro.

Cunningham was elected in 2018 with around 1.5% of the vote after a Republican overthrew the incumbent in the primary, but he lost his 2020 re-election bid by just under 1.5%.

His victory was the first time a Democrat has won the district, now anchored in the areas around Charleston and Hilton Head Island, in nearly 40 years. In 2016, Donald Trump won the district by 12%.

Changes had to be made to the map. South Carolina has added nearly 500,000 people over the past decade, according to the 2020 US Census. That growth has been imbalanced, particularly with people flocking to coastal neighborhoods as opposed to rural areas in the interior. lands.

There were more radical solutions. The League of Voters has suggested removing Charleston from U.S. Democratic Representative Jim Clyburn’s 6th District, fired since his first election in 1992 to have a majority of minority voters and currently stretching from Charleston to Columbia. The group said it could be done and keep the 6th arrondissement where it was likely to elect a minority.

“North Charleston shouldn’t be with Columbia. North Charleston is part of a very cohesive community of interest with Charleston and the other satellite towns and suburbs that develop around the Charleston area,” said Lynn Teague, vice-president. president of the League of Women Voters of South. Caroline.

But instead, the Republican-majority Senate opted for a plan of “minimal change,” said Will Roberts, a South Carolina Senate cartographer.

The cartographers brought out more republican and whiter enclosures from the 6th arrondissement and the 1st arrondissement, now represented by Republican Nancy Mace.

The new 1st district would now have parts of six counties, but not an entire county. Johns Island, known for its role in the civil rights movement, was moved to District 6, but the wealthy white enclaves neighboring Kiawah Island and Seabrook Islands remain in District 1.

And while most of the Charleston area is in Borough 1 as an anchor, almost the entire downtown peninsula – the heart of Charleston since settlers arrived 350 years ago – is found now in the 6th arrondissement according to the plan.

In Borough 1, “now the only thing left of the Charleston Peninsula are the almost all white million dollar houses south of Broad,” Cunningham said.

The changes in the other districts have been fairly minimal. The 5th District, represented by U.S. Representative Ralph Norman, has seen its boundaries shrink due to massive growth around Rock Hill just south of Charlotte, North Carolina. Instead of being divided, Newberry County will now be part of U.S. Representative Jeff Duncan’s 3rd District.

Teague said the United States House Senate map almost assures that the outcome in every district in every election through 2030 will be predictable before the ballots are cast.

“Extreme districts produce extreme policies that harm our country,” Teague said.

South Carolina, Delimitation, Politics
State senators began weighing in on new district map proposals submitted last week by the South Carolina state Senate subcommittee on Monday. Above, an exterior view of the South Carolina State House in Columbia.
Epics / Getty Images


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