Redistricting Relay

[cross-posted at]

Late Friday afternoon, Politico’s Ken Vogel published an interesting assessment of the upcoming fight over redistricting.

“GOP lags in early redistricting race” is a broad look at the players in this year’s state-level elections and next year’s map-drawing, as well as at how those organizations fit together.

If you don’t have the time to peruse the three-page article at the moment (or even if you do), I thought you might enjoy some selected highlights.

Outmaneuvered by the GOP during the last round of redistricting a decade ago, Democrats appear to have an early advantage as the two parties gear up again for the expensive and high-stakes battle over redrawing state legislative and congressional districts.
“I do believe that the Democrats are much better organized at this stage,” said Ben Ginsberg, a top Republican election lawyer.
The GOP’s redistricting gains were wiped out by the electoral tidal waves that swept Democrats to power in Congress and the White House in 2006 and 2008. But Michael Sargeant, executive director of a top Democratic redistricting-related group called the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, said Democrats are “definitely playing catch up to Republicans as far as the maps — both at the state legislative and at the congressional level. But we’re more prepared than we were last cycle.”
[Ed] Gillespie has said he hopes to double the budget of the Republican State Leadership Committee, a 527 group formed in 2002 to help elect Republican attorneys general, lieutenant governors, secretaries of state and state lawmakers that he took over this year. With Gillespie at the helm, it absorbed the American Majority Project, and launched a reapportionment initiative called REDistricting MAjority Project or REDMAP, which is intended to target and win state legislative races that can tip the balance of legislatures that craft and vote on redistricting plans.
The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, a 527 run by Sargeant that was established in 1994 to help the party win state legislative seats, will target key races in an effort to protect or capture Democratic legislative majorities in states with pivotal redistricting battles.

I do recommend you read the entire article, though—it’s certainly worth the time.

At risk of being lost as a link on page two, though, is an interesting memo distributed last month to state Republican Party chairs nationwide.

The memo is written by GOP redistricting expert Dr. Thomas Hofeller and does a solid job of explaining why the state-level 2010 elections are vital and articulating what the stakes are in each state (with pictures!).

A money quote (replace “GOP” with “Democrats,” and the argument remains the same):

Why are these state-level contests so important to the GOP? It is because it is in the states where the results of the 2010 census will be used to redraw the boundaries of congressional districts which will be used in the 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020 elections. The outcome of this battle will determine the electoral playing field for the next decade.

It’s no surprise that the GOP is as acutely aware as we are of the stakes in this year’s state-level elections. The DLCC has labored tirelessly since the harsh redistricting of 2001 and has made solid gains in statehouses across the country. But we are by no means secure as we face the 2011 redistricting. One bad cycle can destroy everything we’ve accomplished, and we never forget that as we work to support and build infrastructure for local campaigns. The GOP may be “lagging” in this redistricting race, but they’re nowhere close to losing, and we have a long way to go.

Tags: Redistricting, state legislatures (all tags)


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