WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A new plan to redraw Congressional districts in North Carolina would radically change the way southeastern North Carolina is represented in Washington. Meanwhile, the two men who planned to run for the 7th District Congressional seat still plan to run in that district, regardless of where it is.
The new plan would put the northwest corner of New Hanover County and much of western Pender County in the 3rd Congressional District. The 7th District, which currently serves our area, would look much different. While Brunswick, Columbus and Bladen would stay in the 7th District, most of Robeson County, where Rep. Mike McIntyre lives, would be pushed out. The district would also grow northward into Johnston County, but cut out much of Cumberland County.
A previous plan had kept eastern Robeson County in the 7th District, but would push McIntyre's hometown of Lumberton out. It also added Onslow and Carteret to the district, meaning a large Marine Corps population tied to Camp Lejeune, which likely would have helped Republican challenger Ilario Pantano in the 7th District. Those counties would be part of the 3rd District.
"Ilario made the decision to run for Congress earlier this year without knowing what the district lines might be, because he knew from listening to the people of Southeastern NC that they were ready to have a Congressman who would fight for their conservative principles," Pantano's campaign said in a statement. "We are very confident that regardless of what the final district lines look like the people of North Carolina's 7th Congressional district will continue to respond positively to Ilario’s conservative message of creating jobs by reducing taxes and cutting regulations which will spur private sector economic growth, cutting wasteful federal spending, reducing the debt and reforming government."
McIntyre's campaign condemned the new map, but said the Congressman still plans to run in the 7th District. In the meantime, the campaign said McIntyre will fight to put Robeson and Cumberland Counties back into the district.
"Congressman McIntyre has accomplished much for the 7th District and southeastern North Carolina for the past 15 years, and he will work to continue to represent it in the next Congress and for the foreseeable future," McIntyre's campaign said in a statement.