COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina Senate has released its proposed U.S. House districts for next year's elections, which don't make significant changes in the previous districts.
Preliminary analysis of the maps show the state would likely continue to elect six Republicans and one Democrat to the U.S. House with the new districts, which must be approved by the Senate and House and survive any legal challenges.
Some changes had to be made because South Carolina added more than 500,000 people over the past 10 years, causing several districts to have too many people, especially the 1st District that stretches from Charleston to Hilton Head Island.
U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace was elected to that district in 2020 after one term of Democratic control and the new map adds some likely Republican voters into her district.
The biggest changes are around Charleston, where the 1st District swapped some areas with the 6th District, which is represented by the delegation's lone Democrat, U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn.
The percentage of Black voters in Clyburn's district falls just under 50% in the proposed maps, but would still likely guarantee a minority elected to the seat.
The 5th District, represented by U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman, had its boundaries shrink under the proposal because of massive growth around Rock Hill, just south of Charlotte, North Carolina. Instead of being split, Newberry County will now all be in U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan's 3rd District.
An analysis shared by the League of Women Voters of South Carolina said the six districts where Republicans currently serve are likely to vote at least 55% for the Republican candidate under the Senate proposal.
“This is a map that would make South Carolina’s voters obsolete in November,” said the group, whose goal is to draw districts that better reflect the state's partisan makeup and give a better chance for competitive races between Democrats and Republican.
The Senate committee handling redistricting plans a public meeting about the U.S. House map proposal Monday.
The full Senate plans to come back in special session on Dec. 8 to debate the U.S. House and state Senate district plans.
The House has a special session planned Dec. 1 to consider its own redistricting.
Filing for the new districts is in March, with primaries set for June.