Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.
Rep. George Holding announced his decision not to run for reelection Friday, citing newly redrawn congressional maps as part of the reasoning.
“I just don’t see an opportunity to win in the district that’s been drawn for me,” Holding said.
Holding, a former U.S. attorney for eastern North Carolina and scion of a prominent banking family, was elected to the U.S. House in 2012, the first election after the first redistricting occurred this decade in the states. Congressional lines have been adjusted twice since then — once after courts determined unlawful racial gerrymandering occurred and the other this fall when judges said partisan gerrymandering probably happened.
The 2nd District had included parts of Wilson, Nash, Johnston, Harnett, Franklin and Wake counties, but legislators drew a new map in November that puts all of Holding’s district in Wake County. A three-judge panel on Monday ruled the maps would stand for the upcoming election, but officials believe new maps will be drawn for 2022 with the potential creation of a 14th U.S. House seat following the 2020 census.
“I am also hopeful that, if it is part of the good Lord’s plan, I will someday return to public office — that there will be other opportunities for me to fight for the ideals and conservative principles I believe in,” Holding said in a statement.
Democrat Deborah Ross, a former legislator who lost a bid for the U.S. Senate in 2016, has announced plans to run in the 2nd District. She has not filed yet.
Rep. G.K. Butterfield filed for re-election Thursday to represent the 1st District, which now includes all of Wilson County. The Wilson resident was first elected to Congress in 2004 and has represented a large portion of the county for more than a decade.
“The 1st District will encompass many counties that I formerly represented in Congress, and if the people of the 1st District give me the honor once again, I will continue to fight for their best interests in the United States Congress,” Butterfield said in a statement.
The current map produced a 10-3 Republican advantage in North Carolina’s congressional delegation, while the new map is widely expected to produce an 8-5 Republican edge. Holding’s new district and Rep. Mark Walker’s Greensboro-area district are the ones expected to flip to Democrats with the new map. Walker has said he might challenge Sen. Thom Tillis, who is seeking a second six-year term in 2020. Neither man has filed for election. The candidate filing period ends Dec. 20.