Top Republicans in South Carolina say a map released by the state House Judiciary Subcommittee last week is likely to be close to the final product that gets signed into law.
The Palmetto State gained a seat in reapportionment, and mapmakers have drawn the new 7th district in the growing northeastern part of the state, anchored by the city of Myrtle Beach in the heavily Republican Horry County.
The new Republican-leaning seat was crafted by taking a chunk out of freshman Republican Rep. Tim Scott’s coastal district, along with portions of the districts of Reps. Mick Mulvaney (R) and James Clyburn (D).
In South Carolina, Republicans control the Statehouse and governor’s mansion.
Republicans in the state say the newly proposed map has left House Members mostly happy politically because it hasn’t drawn anyone into a tougher district — including Clyburn, the state’s sole Democratic Member.
Clyburn’s “basically got a district as solid or more than his previous districts and it compacts it a little geographically,” a top South Carolina Republican told Roll Call.
A source close to Clyburn, the Assistant Minority Leader, confirmed that the 10-term Congressman was satisfied with the proposed map being circulated.
“Congressman Clyburn doesn’t have concerns with the process so far, and he expects that the subcommittee plan will pass the full committee and move forward,” the source said.
The Republican-proposed map is similar, in many respects, to a map proposed by Clyburn that is posted on the state House website. In Clyburn’s map, 57 percent of his new district would be black. In the map released by the state House Judiciary Subcommittee, 56 percent of Clyburn’s new district would be black.
But Dick Harpootlian, the colorful and sometimes controversial chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, did not sound as satisfied as Clyburn with the racial makeup of the proposed districts.
“The Republicans in South Carolina play the same old game of racial apartheid,” he said in an interview with Roll Call. “Their idea of reapportionment is to put all the black people in as few districts as possible and bleach out the rest of the districts so that white elected officials don’t have to talk to black people and black elected officials don’t have to talk to white people,” he said, discussing the new Congressional and the new state House district lines.
The map that gets signed into law, however, may not be South Carolina’s final map for the next decade. The state Democratic Party is “95 percent” likely to challenge a similar map with a lawsuit, Harpootlian said. The final map also must be approved by the Justice Department to make sure the new districts comply with the 1965 Voting Rights Act.