WASHINGTON - A three-judge panel ruled Monday that new congressional maps passed by North Carolina lawmakers last month can stand for the 2020 election. The court also opened filing for U.S. House candidates.
"The net result is the grievous and flawed 2016 map has been replaced," Judge Paul Ridgeway said.
Monday marked the opening of the filing period for the 2020 election, but the judges had blocked filing in the congressional races as they considered the maps.
Still candidates were announcing congressional runs even before the ruling - particularly in the two districts that are expected to swing toward Democrats under the legislature's new map.
Democrat Deborah Ross, a former state lawmaker who ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 2016, filed a statement of candidacy with federal election officials to run in the 2nd District.
The district, currently represented by Republican Rep. George Holding, will be a Wake County-only district under the maps passed by the legislature.
Three Democrats already announced campaigns for the seat, but that was before the districts were redrawn. Retired Marine Scott Cooper, Wake County Public Schools board member Monika Johnson-Hostler and Open Table United Methodist Church pastor Jason Butler have been in the race for several months.
Holding has not committed to running again.
The 6th District, currently represented by Republican Rep. Mark Walker, has been reconfigured to include all of Guilford County and part of Forsyth County.
Kathy Manning, who unsuccessfully challenged Rep. Ted Budd in the 13th District in 2018, announced on Twitter that she is running.
"After lots of careful consideration I'm excited to say that I'm in," Manning tweeted.
Democrat Angela Flynn, the director of liturgy and music at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, is also running in the district.
Walker said he will run for another term, but has not said what district he will run in. The new map splits his current congressional district among several districts, including the 10th and the 13th.
Democrat Moe Davis, a retired Air Force Colonel and former Guantanamo Bay chief prosecutor, announced he is running in the 11th district. The district is currently represented by Republican Mark Meadows. Davis is from Asheville, which is fully contained in the 11th district under the new maps. The city is split in the current map. Davis became a critic of the process used by the Obama Administration to try terrorists.
"Western North Carolina ranks high in poverty and low in healthcare coverage and educational achievement. Mark Meadows has spent four terms in Congress focusing solely on his own agenda and ignoring his constituents," Davis said in a statement.
Two Democrats have already announced they are running in the district, 2018 Democratic nominee Phillip Price and Steve Woodsmall, who finished second to Price in 2018.
Meadows, the former chair of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, has been an outspoken defender of President Donald Trump throughout his term and especially on impeachment. He is one of the most visible members of the House.
Most of the current incumbents have announced that they will run for re-election in 2020, even before the map is finalized, including Democratic Reps. Alma Adams, David Price and GK Butterfield. Republicans Virginia Foxx, Dan Bishop, Greg Murphy, Budd, Patrick McHenry, David Rouzer and Richard Hudson have indicated they plan to run for re-election.
Visit The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) at www.newsobserver.com