The webmaster's comments are in red italic.  -DB

Posted on Mon, Jan. 12, 2004

Co-speaker Morgan replies
Sen. Pittenger's contentions are `misleading and disingenuous'

From Rep. Richard Morgan of Moore County, the Republican co-speaker of the N.C. House of Representatives.

Sen. Robert Pittenger attempts ("Morgan sold out his party," Dec. 22 guest column) to cast the court fight over new legislative districts as a "Republican" challenge and insinuates that only the Democrats and I support the plans. He says that the challengers seek "fair and constitutionally drawn" legislative districts. The senator's contentions are deliberately misleading and disingenuous.
It seems odd that Morgan mentions only Sen. Pittenger, since Rep. McMahan and Sen. Ballantine also contributed to that article.  I suppose he doesn't want to highlight the fact that his argument is not just with Sen. Pittenger.  -DB

I am confident the House redistricting plan meets all federal and state constitutional requirements as well as the federal Voting Rights Act. While Sen. Pittenger asserts that the N.C. attorney general is representing only the Democrats and myself, the attorney general is representing the institution of the General Assembly and the citizens of North Carolina against unfounded attacks by those, such as Sen. Pittenger, who are acting in their own self-interest. It is precisely because of these erroneous allegations that taxpayer funds must be expended to defend the new plans.
1)That's poppycock.  The plan is a blatant Democrat gerrymander.  And,
2) What's this "House redistricting plan" business?  They didn't redistrict just the House.  The bill that Morgan and the Democrats rammed through the legislature (with only 19 of the other 83 Republicans voting for it) gerrymandered both the House and the Senate, to reduce the number of competitive and Republican-leanding districts.  -DB

I am not the only Republican who voted for the new plans. The new districts have the support of the Republican chairman of the House Redistricting Committee, the Republican House Majority Leader (who was unanimously elected to that post) and former Republican Speaker Harold Brubaker. It also had the support of numerous other Republican House members who believed the plan was not only constitutional, but fair as well.
The leaders kept their redistricting plans secret, then got Gov. Easley to call a snap legislative session, and forced a vote before most Republicans had a chance to examine the new districts.  The leaders assured the members that it was a fair and equitable plan.  It is a measure of Mr. Morgan's (lack of) credibility with the other 83 Republican legislators that only 19 of them voted for it.  The rest were smart enough to figure out that he was lying.  -DB

Sen. Pittenger's claims must be looked at in context. His opposition to the new plans is surely affected not so much by his concern about minority voting strength, but by the fact that his senatorial district was combined with that of another Republican, Sen. Robert Rucho. Although there is a long-time understanding that the House will not meddle in the districts of the Senate, and vice-versa, Sen. Pittenger asked me to intercede on his behalf in the Senate plan. Through an intermediary, Sen. Pittenger, the lead attorney for the challengers in the lawsuit, and the state Republican Party Chairman called and offered to drop the redistricting lawsuit if I could get the Senate leadership to separate his district from that of Sen. Rucho's district. So much for his altruism!
1) All three men deny this outrageous fabrication by Rep. Morgan.  Morgan would have you believe that Sen. Pittenger, attorney Tom Farr, and Republican State Chairman Ferrell Blount are all liars, who would sell out their Party and the voters of North Carolina, to protect two Senators from a primary.  What an outrageous, evil smear!  And,
2) Republicans have never been party to any "long-time understanding that the House will not meddle in the districts of the Senate and vice-versa."  When the Democrats controlled both chambers, the House was gerrymandered to please House Democrats and the Senate was gerrymandered to please Senate Democrats - that's all.  But this year we had the votes to stop it... until Morgan betrayed us.  -DB

As co-speaker of the House, I am satisfied that we have done well to draw new House districts that are fair and constitutional.  And as a Republican, I am satisfied that we have done well to draw districts that are fair to Republican candidates for the House of Representatives.
When Republicans get most of the votes, but Democrats get most of the seats, how is that "fair?"  And what about the Senate?  Notice that Morgan doesn't want to talk about the Senate.  But Morgan also rammed the Democrats' Senate gerrymander through the House, to disenfranchise the voters and prevent Republicans from having a fair chance of wining control of the Senate.  -DB

Finally, regarding Sen. Pittenger's criticism of my attendance at a fish fry hosted by Sen. Marc Basnight, I was hardly the first or only Republican to be invited to or attend this seafood social honoring the president pro tempore of the Senate. Traditionally, both Republicans and Democrats have attended events honoring state dignitaries.
The article in question did not even mention Marc Basnight's fish fry.  Perhaps Rep. Morgan has so many ongoing arguments with Republicans that he can't keep them all straight.  -DB

The Republican Party deserves to know the truth about Sen. Pittenger and the challengers to the House redistricting plan. Those who are considering contributing to their so-called private fund should realize the truth. This lawsuit is motivated more by self-interest than any concern for Republican interests in the House of Representatives.
Richard Morgan is such a liar!  The Republican Party is supposed to be the party of integrity.  Bill Clinton's Party is the Party that says, "everybody lies."  That's just one more way that Richard Morgan is really a Democrat in everything but name.  -DB

2004 Charlotte Observer and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.

  (For an original copy of this article, without my comments, click here.  -DB)

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