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May 18, 2011

Horry to anchor new congressional district

Horry County would anchor South Carolina's new seventh congressional district, according to a draft redistricting plan released by the S.C. House Wednesday.

The plan also dissects four S.C. House districts, Democratic districts in Hampton and Darlington counties, and Republican districts spanning Greenville and Laurens counties, and Greenville and Pickens counties. New S.C. House districts would be added along the coast and in South Carolina's Charlotte suburbs.

Locally, the 2nd Congressional District -- held by U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-Springdale -- would shift away from the coast, adding Aiken County while dropping Beaufort County and the counties between Beaufort and the Midlands, according to the plan.

The 6th Congressional District -- held by U.S. rep. Jim Clyburn, D-Columbia -- would be more compact under the House plan, adding a portion of Sumter County and stretching southwest to the Savannah River.

In addition, the House plan would split Greenville County between the 3rd and 4th Congressional districts. However, Greenville would continue to make up a majority of the 4thd district's population, which now includes just Greenville, Spartanburg and Union counties, as well as a tiny slice of Laurens County.

A House subcommittee will take up the plan redistricting starting Monday, with the full Judiciary Committee picking up the plan two weeks later. House Judiciary chairman Jim Harrison, R-Richland, said he expects the bill to hit the House floor on June 6.

The state Senate still is drafting its own redistricting plan for Senate and U.S. House districts.

Legislators are scheduled to meet two weeks in June in an attempt to approve a redistricting plan.

The U.S. Department of Justice must review and sign off on any plan approved by lawmakers and the governor.

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