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GOP-drawn map spurs freshman Rep. Jeff Jackson to run for NC attorney general

Republican Rep. Dan Bishop earlier said he would also run for the post

Rep. Jeff Jackson, D-N.C., will run for state attorney general next year.
Rep. Jeff Jackson, D-N.C., will run for state attorney general next year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Freshman Democratic Rep. Jeff Jackson said Thursday he would run for North Carolina attorney general rather than seek reelection, a day after the state’s Republican-led legislature approved a new congressional map that would make it very difficult for him to win another term.

“A group of politicians in North Carolina just redrew my congressional district to take me out. They’re going to replace me with one of their political allies,” he said in a video shared on social media. “That’s political corruption, and I’ve got news for them: I’m running for attorney general.”

“I’m going to use that job to go after political corruption,” he said.

[North Carolina legislature passes new congressional map that favors Republicans]

A former state senator, Jackson ran for the newly created 14th District last year, winning the seat by 15 percentage points after he initially ran for an open Senate seat now held by Republican Ted Budd. 

In the video, which features Jackson in a boxing ring as well as the direct-to-camera commentary he’s become known for on social media, he highlighted his experience as an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan and as a prosecutor. He also noted what issues he might focus on if elected: “Organized crime that targets your bank account. Fentanyl that targets our kids. Corporations that break the rules with price gouging or polluting our water.”

Jackson is the second House member from North Carolina to say he will run for attorney general next year, joining Republican Rep. Dan Bishop. 

The state’s new congressional map comes after years of litigation over how the state’s districts would be drawn. The map would give Republicans a chance to win up to 11 of the state’s 14 districts. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper did not have veto power over the map, but some Democrats and voting rights groups have suggested a legal challenge could be on the table.

“Make no mistake, we will not abandon the fight for fairness in the Tar Heel State, and the struggle will continue until North Carolina voters get the equal representation they are entitled to as American citizens,” former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, said Wednesday in a statement. 

Democratic Reps. Wiley Nickel and Kathy Manning would have to overcome extraordinary odds to win reelection in seats that would be favored for Republicans under the new map, while Democratic Rep. Don Davis would likely face the state’s most competitive House race. 

The map heavily favoring Republicans comes in a state that President Donald Trump won with 50.5 percent of the vote and GOP Sen. Thom Tillis carried by 2 percentage points in 2020. Nickel, who represents the 13th District, pointed to that inequity in a statement Wednesday.

“Now, we’re seeing yet another extreme partisan gerrymander from the Republican legislature. It’s not fair to draw 10 or 11 out of 14 safe Republican seats for our 50/50 state,” Nickel said. “To be clear, this is Republican legislators trying to hand-pick their own voters and predetermine the outcome of our elections before they even happen. No matter what happens to NC-13, I’m going to keep fighting for fair maps.”

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