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Fight for Representation for NC's 12th District Heats Up

January 15, 2014

RALEIGH, N.C. - Who will represent North Carolina's 12th Congressional District? It's a question that won't - at this point - be answered until November.

Gov. Pat McCrory announced the decision last week, but the delay will cause the 700,000 residents of the district to be without a representative in Congress for more than 300 days.

Some groups are demanding faster action. The Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP, explained what is at stake.

"Citizens of North Carolina will be forced to go almost one year without their constitutionally guaranteed right to representation," he said. "This is taxation without representation."

The 12th District includes portions of Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Lexington, Salisbury, Concord and High Point. The seat is vacant after Democrat Mel Watt was confirmed last month to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The governor's office released a statement pointing out the extra cost to taxpayers for an earlier special election.

Barber said his organization is making plans to take legal action. He said there's plenty of opportunity to place the 12th District seat on May primary ballots, which have not been printed yet.

"The reality is, when the governor says this is too costly and logistically impossible, it's not convincing," he said.

Critics of McCrory's decision to delay the election claim the Republican governor is trying to keep the seat, in a largely Democratic district, vacant for as long as possible.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC