RALEIGH — As lawmakers released a first draft of the new N.C. General Assembly voting districts, significant changes to representation in northeast North Carolina has opened the door for a new state senate seat. Rep. Bob Steinburg, an Edenton Republican who represents the sprawling 1st District in the N.C. House, has said his intention is to run for that open seat if the current map is approved.
“If the maps are approved, I will seek the Republican nomination for state Senate in the new district,” Steinburg said from his Raleigh office on Tuesday.
Sen. Bill Cook currently represents Senate District 1 that comprises Beaufort, Camden, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hyde, Pasquotank, and Perquimans Counties. But the new map moves Beaufort, and Cook’s home town, into a different district — making Cook ineligible for run for his former seat.
The proposal would add Hertford and Gates from the north, and Chowan, Washington, and Tyrrell from the west to Senate District 1 — creating a mega eleven-county wide district, and the largest single representation in the state legislature.
“I see the eleven counties as giving me the ability to have some real leverage in the Senate, representing an entire section of the state — hopefully with a unified voice,” said Steinburg, who has already run in nine of the eleven counties at some point during his political career.
“I have a great familiarity with this entire district, and we’ve great progress here in the Northeast,” he said, “I’d like for that to continue.”
It is unclear whether Cook will run in his new Senate district, which would border District 1 to the west.
The General Assembly has until the end of the month to submit remedial maps to a federal court panel. Lawmakers say they plan to vote on the proposed changes by August 24.