In the 54 days leading up to the March 15 primary, Common Cause North Carolina will take a daily look at the 54 NC General Assembly districts where just one candidate is running for office.
Today's installment of "The Forgotten 54" features NC House District 12, which covers parts of Craven, Greene and Lenoir counties. Over 76,000 North Carolinians live in this district – and in this year's election, they will have no choice in who represents them in the state House.
The driving force behind this lack of competition is gerrymandering, the longtime practice of partisan politicians drawing the state's voting maps to heavily favor one party or the other. In turn, opposing candidates have little or no chance of winning in these districts — deterring many potential contenders from even bothering to run and leaving voters with no choice on their ballot.
Just one candidate filed for office in these 54 legislative districts, effectively deciding the outcome of these elections before a single ballot is cast. In all, almost a third of North Carolina's 170 legislative seats will have no competition in both the primary and general elections.
Over 3 million North Carolinians reside in the 41 state House districts that lack any competition this year, and nearly 2.5 million live in the 13 state Senate districts where just one candidate is running.
"Once again, gerrymandering is undermining our democracy and depriving millions of North Carolinians of having a choice and a voice in our elections," said Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause North Carolina. "By taking a daily look at each of these 54 districts that lack any competition at all, we hope to shine a light on the corrosive impact of gerrymandering and the vital need for an independent redistricting process."