Charleston’s City Council will see a major shake-up in redistricting, particularly impacting the council’s African American members. The latest U.S. Census results have shown a changing racial make-up in Charleston over the last 10 years, particularly on the peninsula.
On Tuesday, Council members got three possible maps to consider: one from the state’s redistricting office and two crafted by city planners. Which seats are safe and which are at risk:
District 1 — Gary White: Safe. White’s district will likely lose its small sliver of James Island, but should stay in some portion of the South of Broad neighborhood.
District 2 — Blake Hallman: Safe. It’s a top-heavy district that needs to be sliced up, but will preserve Hallman’s spot.
District 3 — James Lewis Jr.: At risk. The district is combined with another district in all three plans. Lewis’ fate will depend on how the lines shift.
District 4 — Robert Mitchell: At risk. The state plan would eliminate the district as its currently known, creating a new District 4 for Johns Island and western James Island. It’s a toss-up under the city’s proposals — one would make it a stronger African American district by bringing in the upper peninsula, while the other would head down the peninsula, making it a white-majority district.
District 5 — Jimmy Gallant: At risk. The state plan leaves the district largely unchanged. But both city plans would eliminate the district, creating a new District 5 on Johns Island and outer West Ashley.
District 6 — Dudley Gregorie: Mostly safe. In the state plan, Gregorie would be sharing this district with Lewis and Mitchell, but he’d still have many of his voters. In one city plan, the district heads deeper into West Ashley. In the other, it heads up the peninsula.
District 7 — Louis Waring: Safe. The only minority district that’s safe in every plan.
District 8 — Mike Seekings: Safe. The state plan gives Seekings more of the peninsula. In the city plans, the district takes the portion of James Island currently in District 1. In one plan, Seekings would lose some of the peninsula as the district heads farther up Savannah Highway in West Ashley.
District 9 — Aubrey Alexander: Safe. District is largely unchanged. Under the city’s proposals, it would grow onto the peninsula, taking The Citadel and a part of Wagener Terrace.
District 10 — Dean Riegel: Safe. Not much changes here, besides giving up some of the top-heavy district.
District 11 — Kathleen Wilson: Safe. With little room to move the boundaries on James Island, Wilson’s district is almost identical in every plan.
Council members will be giving their feedback over the next two weeks and meet again on the redistricting on April 26.