RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A Wake County Democrat says she’s considering moving as a result of the way Republicans redrew the election districts for the General Assembly.
Under the new state Senate district map unveiled this week, Democratic Sen. Lisa Grafstein (D-Wake) lives in the same district as Democratic Sen. Jay Chaudhuri.
Rather than the two of them face off in a primary, Grafstein said she’s considering whether to move into a newly drawn district in southern Wake County that would be much more competitive in next fall’s general election.
“What it’s done, essentially, is create a lot of chaos,” Sen. Grafstein said in an interview. “We need to continue to have strong representation for Wake County and push back against this sort of sledgehammer that’s been taken to Wake County.”
Under the state Constitution, state lawmakers have to live in the district they represent for one year prior to the election. That would mean Grafstein would have to make a decision soon.
“I feel like I’m not done serving. I feel like I have work that I still want to try to do at the legislature,” she said.
Grafstein has been a vocal critic of the law Republicans passed earlier this year that places new limits on abortion. As one of the few LGBTQ+ members of the legislature, she also has been concerned about new laws enacted this year that ban gender-affirming care for transgender minors and ban transgender females from women’s sports.
Grafstein said it’s a goal of hers to roll back those laws “as we build Democratic power in the legislature, undoing some of the harm that’s been done through things like the abortion ban, for a lot of the anti-LGBTQ issues.”
Grafstein and Chaudhuri are not the only lawmakers who have been “double-bunked” in the same district.
Sen. Natasha Marcus, a Democrat from Mecklenburg County, would be in the same district as Sen. Vickie Sawyer, a Republican from Iredell County. That new district strongly favors Republicans based on recent election data.
Two years ago, the GOP drew a similar map that put Marcus and Sawyer in the same district but later changed that plan.
“I think we finally got them to admit at the end that the only criteria that seemed to matter to them was political gain,” she said. “There were a lot of these districts that did not need to be changed, and they were only changed for political reasons.”
When asked why these double-bunkings only occurred in Wake and Mecklenburg counties and affected Democrats, Republicans pointed to previous court rulings that outline what counties must be grouped together to form districts.
“That’s the areas where it is possible under the redraw to occur. Not that that was the target. The target was to minimize those as much as possible. But, we did have two in the two largest counties,” said Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell).
The General Assembly is scheduled to vote on the new district maps next week.
Republicans submitted two differing proposals for the state’s 14 congressional districts. Those plans would likely help the GOP gain three to four seats in the U.S. House.
As of Friday, it was unclear which plan Republicans would attempt to pass.