Smith Says New Map Key to GOP Flipping 1st District

Sandy Smith is hoping North Carolina’s new congressional map will be the key to electing the first Republican to the 1st Congressional District since the 19th century.

“I’m so emphatically excited to be running for the first time ever under fairly drawn maps,” said Smith, a Nash County businesswoman and one of two Republican candidates seeking the 1st District seat this year. Smith, who spoke in Elizabeth City last week, was referring to a newly redrawn congressional map that the state’s Republican-controlled General Assembly approved in October.

The other GOP candidate is Laurie Buckhout, a retired U.S. Army colonel and Edenton resident. The two will square off in the March 5 Republican primary for the chance to challenge incumbent Congressman Don Davis, D-N.C., in the November general election. Davis is running unopposed for a second term in the district that includes all area counties, including Pasquotank.

The November general election will be historic because for the first time since 1883 the 1st District will send a Republican to Congress, Smith said.

“That is huge,” said Smith, who was addressing nearly 30 people attending the Pasquotank Republican Party’s meeting on Thursday, Jan. 11.

Smith also announced at the meeting that she has received an endorsement from Congressman Paul Gosar, a Republican from Arizona.

This election cycle marks the third time Smith has run for the 1st District seat. “And with your help and all your votes and all your friends’ votes I will be your nominee” in March, she said.

In 2022, Davis defeated Smith 52% to 48%, or by 12,216 votes, under the district’s old maps. Two years prior, Smith challenged former U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., but lost 54% to 46%, or by 29,122 votes, according to the elections data website Ballotpedia.

The new congressional map added four GOP leaning counties — Currituck, Camden, Lenoir and Wayne — to the 1st District, while excluding Pitt and Franklin counties. The former 1st District included a large portion of Pitt, where Davis defeated Smith by 7,000 votes. Smith defeated Davis by almost 3,600 votes in Franklin in 2022.

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