After each national census, state governments must re-draw their electoral maps to reflect population shifts. North Carolina’s recent redistricting was complicated by a legislative mandate to switch from at-large representation in the General Assembly to smaller districts with a single representative. In the Asheville area, former Senate District 28 has become districts 48 and 49, and former House District 51 has been broken into districts 114, 115 and 116. The shift was further confused — both for prospective candidates and for voters — by a lawsuit filed by the Republican Party, challenging the plans drawn by the Democratic majority in Raleigh.
Legal wrangling postponed the primary election, originally slated for May, until Sept. 10; that delay compelled legislators to rewrite the voting rules. Normally, if none of the contenders in a multicandidate race receives 40 percent of the vote, a runoff election ensues; but this year, such races are winner-take-all. This could affect the outcome in the Republican contest in state Senate District 48 and in the U.S. Senate primaries in both major parties.
Mountain Xpress interviewed the General Assembly candidates who are squaring off in the Sept. 10 primary. Candidates who already have their party’s nomination will be profiled before the November election.