Shifts in population and rapid growth in the Research Triangle area and Mecklenburg County could cost Guilford County seats in the General Assembly.
``There are all kinds of possibilities,' state Sen. Bob Shaw, R-Guilford, said Tuesday as he discussed redistricting of the 10-member Guilford delegation.To keep in accord with laws requiring equitable representation, the legislature redraws legislative and congressional district lines every 10 years or after the latest federal census is taken.
The latest figures reveal the typical state House district will have 55,500 people, the typical Senate district, 133,150.
Using those figures and Guilford County's 1990 census population of 343,753, the county would go from having three senators to 2.6.
That means the county could lose a seat or keep the same number, depending on how lines are drawn.
In the House of Representatives, where the county has seven seats, the number would drop to six, based on the county's population.
Fewer members in the county's delegation could cost it some clout in the legislature - though current partisan political divisions and personality feuds have left the Guilford delegation weaker in recent years than it had been in previous legislative sessions.
Because of the large growth in the Research Triangle area, Wake County could go from having six House members to eight.
Mecklenburg County could increase its representation in the House from eight to nine members, and in the Senate from three to four members.
The shift in Guilford County representation could make for lots of complicated calculations and political deals to accommodate current office holders and satisfy federal requirements concerning minority representation.
All that will occur as Democrats and Republicans seek to gain or keep advantages.
Rep. Al Lineberry, a Greensboro Democrat who is chairman of the Guilford delegation, said he hopes the new technology will take some of the politics out of the process. ``Use the computers and let the lines fall where they may,' he said.
``Somewhere from the Tennessee line to about Alamance County, there will be delegations losing legislative seats,' Shaw said.
Rep. Mary Jarrell, a Democrat from High Point, said the likelihood of a cut in representation doesn't surprise her.
``All you have to do is look at the way the cities have dropped in population,' she said. ``Other areas are growing and we're not.'
Jarrell said she would like to see the district she represents become a single-member district.
She now shares the district with Rep. Steve Wood, a Republican.
``I think the city needs one representative to represent it,' Jarrell said.
Shaw and state Sen. Bill Martin, a Greensboro Democrat, have been named to serve on the Senate Redistricting Committee.
The House Redistricting Committee has not been appointed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Be the first to know
Get local news delivered to your inbox!