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Rep. Kathy Manning says ‘gerrymandered’ map prevents her from seeking reelection

Rep. Kathy Manning, a Democrat from Greensboro, announced Thursday she will not seek reelection.

“I would love nothing more than to continue representing our community in Congress,” Manning said in a news release. “Unfortunately, the egregiously gerrymandered maps do not make this race competitive, and I cannot in good conscience ask people to invest their time, resources and efforts in a campaign that is rigged against us.”

When North Carolina lawmakers redrew the state’s 14 congressional districts in October, they flipped Manning’s seat from one that was solidly Democrat to solidly Republican.

That has led to a deluge of Republicans vying to replace Manning, including former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker, High Point Mayor Jay Wagner, former football player Bo Hines, Green Beret veteran Christian Castelli and plastic surgeon Mary Ann Contogiannis.

Manning’s decision makes her the second member of Congress in North Carolina since filing began Monday to announce retirement. On Tuesday, Rep. Patrick McHenry, a Republican from Lincoln County who recently served as interim House Speaker, also announced he would leave at the end of his current term that expires following 2024.

Joined by Reps. Jeff Jackson, a Democrat from Charlotte, and Dan Bishop, a Republican from Waxhaw, Manning is now the fourth from the state to announce she would not return to Capitol Hill after 2024. Jackson, who was drawn out of his district, is facing off against Bishop for state attorney general.

Manning on maps

In 2020, Manning became the first Jewish person to represent North Carolina in Congress and the first woman in 30 years to represent her district. She was reelected in 2022.

She sad if a federal lawsuit, filed earlier this week, to overturn the new districts succeeds she will run again.

The lawsuit accuses Republican lawmakers of racially gerrymandering the 1st, 6th, 12th and 14th congressional districts by disenfranchising Latino and Black voters.

Rep. Don Davis, a Democrat from Snow Hill, representing the 1st Congressional District, has said he would seek reelection.

Jackson represents the 14th Congressional District, where state House Speaker Tim Moore, a Republican from Kings Mountain, is the likely frontrunner in the race.

In her news release, Manning criticized the General Assembly for splitting Greensboro into three pieces and combining each with rural counties. She added that the majority of Greensboro was drawn into a district that goes all the way to the border of Tennessee.

She added that the map separates Greensboro from High Point and Winston-Salem. The three cities are the largest in the Triad.

She also noted that the new district gives a 16-point advantage to a Republican.

“As a Greensboro resident of forty years, I am disgusted by the callous disregard of Republican leaders for the citizens of my district,” Manning said. “Politicians should not choose their voters; voters should choose their representatives.”

The leader of the state Senate is Phil Berger, a Republican from the town of Eden, just north of Greensboro, who represents both Rockingham and Guilford counties.

Manning said the Republican-led legislature “flagrantly gerrymandered” the districts to reduce North Carolina’s delegation from an even 7-7 split to give Republicans 10 seats in Congress and leave Democrats with four.

“Rather than draw Congressional districts that are compact, include communities of interest, and promote the democratic value of allowing voters to decide who they want to represent them – the previously stated goals of the redistricting committee – Republican leaders have put their partisan self-interest above the people they’re elected to serve,” Manning said. “It’s the shameful act of leaders who know they can’t win under fair districts.”