Dec 15, 2023 - News

NC Congressman Wiley Nickel will not seek re-election

Wiley Nickel, speaking outside the U.S. Capitol

U.S. Rep. Wiley Nickel. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Democratic Congressman Wiley Nickel, who won one of the most tightly contested U.S. House races in the country last year, will not seek re-election in 2024, he announced Thursday.

Why it matters: Nickel's announcement is driven by the state's new, Republican-drawn maps. Its district lines will put Nickel in the same district as fellow Democratic Congresswoman Deborah Ross, which would've forced him to either run against Ross or seek re-election in a more conservative-leaning district.

  • "Republicans have rigged the system to favor themselves and I don't have a path to run for re-election in the 13th district," Nickel said in a release. "But I'm not giving up and neither should you."

The intrigue: Nickel will instead spend his time working to get Democrats elected statewide while he considers a run for U.S. Senate in 2026, he said.

The big picture: Nickel joins two other Democrats, Congressman Jeff Jackson and Congresswoman Kathy Manning, who have said they will not seek re-election to Congress next year, citing gerrymandering.

Flashback: Nickel narrowly beat Republican political newcomer Bo Hines in the 2022 race to represent a sweeping district that included parts of Wake County, along with suburban and rural areas.

State of play: Nickel's win gave Republicans and Democrats in North Carolina an even split, 7-7, in Congress. That will almost certainly change next year, with Republicans predicted to win at least 10 seats in Congress, thanks to the new maps.

What we're watching: A group of Black and Latino voters filed a lawsuit challenging the congressional map, saying it weakens minority voting power. It appears unlikely that there will be any resolution to the lawsuit before the primary, however, the AP reports.

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