GOP state senator quits rather than run in district that's not gerrymandered


State Sen. John Alexander (R-NC) is calling it quits instead of facing a reelection race in a fairly drawn district.

Faced with the prospect of running in a district that's no longer illegally gerrymandered, Wake County Republican state Sen. John Alexander decided to quit instead, the Raleigh News & Observer reported Thursday.

"It's time," Alexander said, saying he wants to spend more time with his grandchildren.

The timing of Alexander's announcement came one day after he was caught on video trying to gerrymander his district to keep the seat safer for him, John Bisognano, the executive director of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, flagged on Twitter.

Alexander can be seen on video entering a room where Republican operatives are redrawing state map and noticing that his district will be impacted. Rather than accept a fair district, Alexander sought to change the map to keep his seat safe.

After realizing his efforts to choose his voters rather than have voters elect him would be rejected, Alexander made the sudden announcement that he would retire.

"You know what they say... when the gerrymandering gets tough, pack your bags and go home," Bisognano wrote on Twitter after the news of Alexander's retirement broke.

Alexander's failed attempt at gerrymandering follows a North Carolina court ordering the state legislature to redraw maps because the current district lines are illegally gerrymandered to help Republicans gain an unfair advantage.

The current maps "do not permit voters to freely choose their representative, but rather representatives are choosing voters based on sophisticated partisan sorting," the court ruled. The court relied on the North Carolina state constitution, which states that "All elections shall be free."

"[I]t is not the free will of the people that is fairly ascertained through extreme partisan gerrymandering. Rather, it is the carefully crafted will of the map drawer that predominates," the court ruled.

The districts were so lopsided that Republicans retained a majority in both legislative chambers even in years when Democrats won a majority of the statewide vote. Rather than adhere to the dictate of the court or the will of the people, Alexander made one last attempt to keep his gerrymandered district.

When Alexander realized he could no longer cheat to win, he announced he would retire instead.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.