Kathy Manning_0971.jpg

Kathy Manning

UPDATE = A three-judge panel meeting in Raleigh on Monday approved new congressional maps for 2020 congressional elections, setting up a potential battle in the new 6th Congressional District between Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Mark Walker and Democratic challenger Kathy Manning, both of Greensboro.

An unsuccessful candidate for the 13th District congressional seat last year, Manning announced her 2020 candidacy in the 6th District on Monday morning before the judges had ruled in a "partisan gerrymandering" lawsuit to uphold new district lines that the North Carolina General Assembly had approved last month,

Democrat Angela Flynn of Chatham County also has announced she is running in the 6th District, but she lives outside its new boundaries.

Walker has said he plans to run for re-election but has not specified in which district. The new map divides his current district that includes parts of Guilford County among several of the new districts.

The new 6th District includes all of Guilford County and parts of Forsyth County, a format that heavily favors Democratic candidates.

GREENSBORO — Former congressional candidate Kathy Manning announced Monday morning that she will be running for the 6th District seat now held by U.S. Rep. Mark Walker of Greensboro.

Manning, a lawyer and community volunteer, said she would seek the Democratic nomination in the "newly drawn" district that is under court review today as part of a gerrymandering lawsuit.

"For too long the Triad has been underrepresented in Congress due to unconstitutionally gerrymandered maps drawn by Republican insiders," said Manning.

Manning ran unsuccessfully in the 13th Congressional District last year against the then-first-term GOP incumbent, U.S. Rep. Ted Budd of Advance. Budd won with more than 51 percent of the vote.

Walker communications director Jack Minor suggested Manning's 6th District announcement was premature, given that a hearing is being held today in Raleigh about the congressional map approved last month by the North Carolina General Assembly.

The judges could accept the new map, but they also could reject it and take a variety of other steps that would lead to a map different from both the current one and state legislators' more recent handiwork.

"For now, there is no congressional race because there is no map," Minor said.

Among other things, the map reshaped the current 6th District to favor a Democrat by including all of Guilford County and part of Forsyth County.

A three-judge panel in Wake Superior Court is reviewing that map today in a lawsuit that has alleged Republican state legislators engaged in "partisan gerrymandering" to design 10 of the state's current 13 districts to strongly favor GOP candidates.

State legislators redrew the current map last month after it appeared that the judicial panel in Wake County was about to strike it down.

The new map legislators unveiled gives Democrats a much better shot in Walker's district and in that held by another Republican congressman in the Raleigh area, Rep. George Holding.

Filing began today for other 2020 races across the state except for the congressional contests.

"Because of ongoing litigation over the drawing of North Carolina’s 13 congressional districts, filing for candidates for U.S. House has been postponed," the State Board of Elections said Monday on its website. "The State Board will provide guidance about congressional filing when more information is available."

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Contact Taft Wireback at 336-373-7100 and follow @TaftWirebackNR on Twitter.

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