Federal judges order special election in 2017 with new districts

Local legislators serving at the state level aren’t happy about the recent order for North Carolina to redraw its districts and hold a special election based on the new districts in 2017.

“I think that the people need to wake up in our state and across the country,” N.C. Rep. Phil Shepard, R-Onslow, said, adding that he thinks federal judges are overstepping their bounds.

The same three-judge panel that announced the ruling had already decided that nearly 30 of the state’s legislative districts were illegally gerrymandered based on the area’s racial population but that it was too late to hold elections under new maps, according to media reports.

Shepard was recently re-elected to serve as state representative for District 15, a term that was supposed to last the next two years. However, the required redistricting and the special election following in November would mean a one-year term for him and recently re-elected District 16 Representative Chris Millis.

In addition to thinking the redistricting is unnecessary, Shepard said the extra expense it will cost the state to redistrict and have a special election is ridiculous.

Regardless, Shepard said the ruling and the changes wouldn’t have any impact on his upcoming term.

“If we have to run, we have to run,” he said, going on to say that he will continue to serve the people, do what constituents expect him to do and continue his conservative voting record.

It was the will of the people that he was re-elected, he said, and the people voted very strongly.

Shepard said he expects that “there’s going to be an appeal to take it to the United States Supreme Court.”

Representative Chris Millis was not able to be reached by deadline Wednesday.