Nov 3 2011
By Joshua Miller, Roll Call
South Carolina’s Congressional redistricting map was precleared by the Department of Justice late Friday, solidifying new lines that shore up Palmetto State incumbents and also add a new seventh district, almost certain to be won by a Republican.
The DOJ’s decision means House Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn will likely be the state’s one Democrat in the 113th Congress.
Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, the man in charge of the DOJ’s powerful Civil Rights Division, sent a letter to the leaders of the state Legislature noting in crisp legalese that Attorney General Eric Holder “does not interpose any objection to the specified change” to the proposed Congressional boundaries.
Under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the DOJ or the federal District Court for the District of Columbia must preapprove any changes to voting lines in certain states, including South Carolina.
Reapportionment granted South Carolina a new district, which the GOP-controlled Legislature placed in the northeastern part of the state. The new 7th Congressional district is anchored in Horry County, the home county of Myrtle Beach. State Rep. Thad Viers (R) is the early frontrunner in the race but is expected to be joined soon by former Lt. Gov. André Bauer (R).
Given the GOP bent of the open seat, state political operatives expect a primary with many other contenders. Roll Call Politics rates the new seat Safe Republican.
JoshuaMiller@rollcall.com | @jm_dc