Monday numbers: A closer look at the impact of gerrymandering on the 2018 election

By: - November 19, 2018 6:06 am

When North Carolina Democrats and Common Cause N.C. filed a suit in Wake County Superior Court last week, it was the culmination of roughly two decades of claims that the state’s top lawmakers had manipulated district lines for partisan advantage.

A decade ago, Democrats were responsible. These days, Republicans are under intense scrutiny. Despite congressional maps that have been ruled unconstitutional, North Carolina elections in 2018 were conducted once again with gerrymandered districts.

In recent years, the numbers have told a particularly compelling story. The state’s legislature and congressional seats remain firmly in the red, but voters are splitting the difference between the parties.

This year, the numbers are just as troubling for advocates of good government.

50 – Roughly the percentage of votes Democrats landed in the state’s congressional races in 2018.

23 (3 out of 13) – The percentage of congressional seats won by Democrats.

77 (10 out of 13) – The percentage won by Republicans

52 – Roughly the percentage of votes statewide Democrats would have to win to “have a chance” of winning four of the state’s 13 congressional seats, according to the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice.

49 – Roughly the percentage of statewide state House votes won in 2018 by Republicans.

54 (65 out of 120) – The percentage of state House seats won in 2018 by Republicans .

49 – Roughly the percentage of statewide state Senate votes won in 2018 by Republicans.

58 (29 out of 50) – The percentage of state Senate seats won in 2018 by Republicans.

69 – Number of current and newly elected legislators (44 Democrats and six Republicans in the state House and 19 Democratic state senators) who have signed Common Cause’s ‘Fair Maps Pledge.’

5 out of 7– Number of state Supreme Court seats now held by Democrats (seats are elected statewide).

49.5 (enough to easily defeat her two opponents) – Percentage of votes won by Anita Earls in the race for the state Supreme Court. Earls is a longtime advocate to end gerrymandering.

Sources: N.C. State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement, Brennan Center for Justice and

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Billy Ball

Billy Ball, worked at NC Policy Watch from 2016 to 2020 — first as an education reporter and later as managing editor.