South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has put her signature on a U.S. House redistricting plan that creates a new seventh congressional district anchored in the Pee Dee region of the state.
During a signing ceremony at Broadway at the Beach Monday, Haley said she was happy the new district would lean conservative, “When we have a situation where we are dealing with the battles in Washington, we need as many conservative votes as we can get.”
Republicans currently hold five of state’s six U.S. House seats.
The state House of Representatives originally passed a plan in June that put the 7th district in the Pee Dee. However, the plan was derailed in the Senate after a coalition of Democrats and 11 Republicans instead voted to put the seat in the Lowcountry, centered around Beaufort and Berkeley counties. However, last week both House and Senate agreed to a new proposal that put the new district in the Pee Dee again.
Scores of Pee Dee residents wearing red “Pee Dee wants the 7th District” t-shirts descended on the Statehouse last week for the vote. “The Pee Dee pushed for it, they asked for it, they showed up in their red shirts,” Haley said, “And we’re here today and not anywhere else, because Pee Dee said the 7th belongs to us, and congratulations for that!”
Many in the crowd Monday wore their shirts again.
Joining Haley was state Sen. Luke Rankin, as well as Reps. Nelson Hardwick, George Hearn, and Thad Viers. All represent the Horry County area. The governor said the four deserved credit for keeping the 7th District in the Pee Dee.
Since South Carolina is covered under the federal Voting Rights Act, the bill still faces review by the Justice Department. The agency must decide if the new plan meets federal voting rights standards.