North Carolina Republicans are gearing up for a showdown between 13th District Rep. George Holding and 2nd District Rep. Renee Ellmers as a result of a proposed new congressional map the General Assembly approved Friday.
"Nobody's too thrilled about a primary, but that's the democratic way," Carter Wrenn, a consultant working for the Holding campaign, told The Raleigh News and Observer .
The new map maintains the Republican delegation's current partisan advantage, but makes significant changes to incumbents' districts. "Every member of Congress is kind of shellshocked right now," a GOP operative in the state said Thursday.
Members are preparing to adapt to those changes, unless the Supreme Court issues a stay of a lower court's order to redraw the map. "If they don't stay the order today, we just assume we're going to be running in the 2nd District, roll up our sleeves, and go to work," Wrenn said Friday.
Given the drastic changes to the map, and the fact that early voting had already begun under the existing map, the Assembly also passed legislation moving the March 15 primary for congressional races back to June 7. That means primaries for House races will fall on a different day than all of the state's other primaries, including the state's presidential nominating contest. The new primary date will open up a new filing period.
North Carolina's legislature had been under court order from a federal three-judge panel to redraw the congressional map by Friday after the court found the 1st and 12th districts to be unconstitutional racial gerrymanders two weeks ago.