June 9, 2017
SD-10 (1990s)

North Carolina Senate District 10 represented by then St. Sen. Roy Cooper.

Governor Cooper must have a fading memory. He’s fuming about alleged racial gerrymandering and partisan redistricting and demanding an immediate redrawing of legislative districts before a single judge has ordered it.

Hmm. That never bothered Roy Cooper when he was Chairman of the Democrat’s Redistricting Committee in the 1990s and specialized in racial gerrymandering and partisan redistricting.

Just read Cooper’s own words in Duke Professor Robinson Everett’s lawsuit against the racially gerrymandered 1st and 12th Congressional Districts. First, Cooper said he mapped them for purely partisan reasons: “Obviously, partisan reasons were a driving force,” said state Sen. Roy Cooper, D-Nash, chairman of the state Senate Redistricting Committee. It was viewed as a partisan plan.” Asked if the core of the 12th District wasn’t based on race, Cooper replied: “It was a geographic core from the Triad to Mecklenburg to make sure we had as many Democrats as possible.”” (DMH, 12/1/99)

But under further questioning, he had to admit the racial gerrymander to cinch the election of two black Congressmen. “Cooper, the state’s key witness, acknowledged legislators also wanted to draw districts that would increase blacks’ representation in the districts. In 1992, the districts sent the first black representatives from North Carolina to Congress since 1901. ‘It’s just the right thing to do,’ Cooper said.”

And then Senator Cooper developed convenient amnesia when presented with an email the staff gave him, precisely outlining the Democrat’s racial math, claiming he couldn’t remember getting it.

Nash Co. represented by St. Sen. Roy Cooper & five different House Districts during the 1990s.

Nash Co. represented by St. Sen. Roy Cooper & five different House Districts during the 1990s.

“Cooper’s testimony also brought to light a February 10, 1997 email message (the “Cohen-Cooper Email”) sent to him by Director of Bill Drafting Gerry Cohen, a state employee charged with the technical aspect of drawing the districts in 1991, 1992, and 1997 Plans. The Cohen-Cooper Email stated, in part, that “By shifting areas in Beaufort, Pitt, Craven and Jones Counties, I was able to boost the minority percentage in the first district from 48.1% to 49.25%. The district was only plurality white, as the white percentage was 49.67%.” (Exhibit 58; Trial Transcript at 438) The email continues, “This was all the district could be improved by switching between the 1st and 3rd unless I went into Pasquotank, Perquimans, or Camden. I was able to make the district plurality black by switching precincts between the 1st and 4th…” (Exhibit 58, Trial Transcript at 438) The Cohen-Cooper email also states that “I [Cohen] have moved Greensboro Black community into the 12th and now need to take bout [sic] 60,000 out of the 12th. I await your direction on this.” (Exhibit 58, Trial Transcript at 412)

The senator stated that he did not remember receiving the Cohen-Cooper email and denied having given Cohen “specific instructions.” (Trial Transcript at 413, 438)

Additionally, Senator Cooper was questioned about a statement he made to the March 25, 1997 meeting of the House congressional redistricting committee, in which he argued that the 1997 Plan “provides for a fair geographical, racial and partisan balance throughout the state of North Carolina.” (Trial Transcript at 429) The senator claimed that the term “partisan balance” referred to maintaining the six-six Democrat-Republican split in the congressional delegation, but denied that the term “racial balance” would refer to maintaining the ten-two balance between whites and African Americans. (Trial Transcript at 429-30) Senator Cooper admitted that race was “one of the factors that was considered” in drafting the 1997 Plan, and that but denied that it was the predominant factor. (Trial Transcript at 430)

It’s clear Roy Cooper used race and partisan redistricting when he ran redistricting as a Senator. So spare us your crocodile tears now, Governor.