North Carolina 6th District
For more than half a century, furniture store managers and owners from all over the country twice a year have converged on the huge Furniture Mart in High Point, the center of the U.S. furniture business. The giant trade show put on by manufacturers now attracts about 70,000 visitors. High Point sits amid rolling farmland originally settled by Quakers. It was the site of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse in the Revolutionary War. The furniture business grew here early in the 20th century because of the hardwoods in the mountains not far west and the abundance of low-wage labor in the flatlands not far east. For many years, the furniture business has proven more resilient than textiles and tobacco, but lately it has faced serious competition from China, and many furniture jobs have been lost, including more than 6,000 jobs in this area since 2000. Some local businesses have been reaching out to China, with increased textile and fabric exports. The Triad area—Greensboro, High Point, and Winston-Salem—has been forced to scramble for new engines of economic growth to keep pace with booming Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte. FedEx planned to open in 2009 a new hub at Piedmont Triad International Airport, between Winston-Salem and Greensboro, with some 1,500 workers. That has led other firms to plan distribution centers to utilize the new facility as part of what one business expert termed an “aerotropolis.” At the same time, the region’s Hispanic population is growing. The town of Robbins in Moore County—the childhood home of John Edwards, former Democratic vice presidential candidate and North Carolina senator—was 48% Hispanic by 2007, as Latinos moved in for jobs in chicken processing and furniture making.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 6th Congressional District of North Carolina is centered on greater Greensboro and High Point, which collectively cast about one-third of its votes. The Furniture Mart itself is not physically located within the 6th, but the district takes in other parts of High Point, which calls itself “North Carolina’s International City,” plus Quaker-settled Randolph County. Moore County and its numerous golf courses are in the district, as are parts of furniture-manufacturing Davidson County, most of textile-making Alamance County, much of populous Guilford County (though not central Greensboro), and the eastern half of Rowan County. Many of these areas are historically Republican, and others have moved in that direction in the past generation. This district has the highest share of registered Republicans in North Carolina.