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2010 State Races Will Shape Redraw

“Every cycle there is a complete educational process within the party,” said Hofeller, who has decades of redistricting experience working at the RNC, the NRCC and as staff director of the House Subcommittee on the Census.

NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas) has tapped Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (Ga.) to be the Congressional liaison to other Members and to state legislatures. Both men have extensive experience with redistricting in their home states.

“I’ve been given the task to win. So that’s what we’re working on,” Westmoreland said. “We’re just trying to get it all coordinated and make sure that the left hand knows what the right hand’s doing.”

The RNC will likely be a vehicle for number crunching (fusing upcoming, block-level Census data with precinct-level election results, which can be a laborious process) and a valuable resource to state legislative caucuses. But it’s unclear whether the RNC can devote the same resources without soft money.

Unless Republicans are planning on funding the entire redistricting effort, including the electoral, analytical and legal aspects, with hard dollars during a presidential cycle, an outside group or groups will need to be formed.

“Everyone is coming around to the reality that this is a team game,” another GOP consultant said.

While conversations within GOP circles are clearly ongoing, a specific answer to the expected fundraising and coordinated efforts of Democratic groups has not emerged. Party insiders are discussing ways to merge experienced redistricting operatives with individuals who can raise the millions of dollars necessary to fund the effort.

A host of Republican attorneys, including Ben Ginsberg, Mark Braden and Dale Oldham, and other GOP operatives who have experience in redistricting will likely find a home in the GOP strategy, but there isn’t a natural landing place for them yet, nor a clear way to pay them.

According to one GOP source, a high-profile national Republican strategist is on the verge of forming an outside group in an attempt to fill the vacuum on the Republican side. The group could come together in the next couple of weeks and help raise nonfederal dollars for the cause, including the inevitable legal battles.

Fundraising continues to be a very serious concern on the Republican side, particularly after a cycle when the conservative group Freedom’s Watch failed to deliver the financial muscle that many people expected. Members can’t have anything to do with raising nonfederal money, so Republicans may have to rely on former elected officials, governors or special interest groups to raise millions of dollars. According to one GOP consultant, Republicans have to train their donors to give to outside groups.

Redistricting veterans caution that there is only so much that can be done from Washington, D.C., because redistricting is largely a state-by-state war.

“Ultimately, it’s about controlling the governors and the legislatures,” Davis said.

Governors play a direct role in redistricting (whether it is veto power or appointment of a commission) in all but eight states. And state legislatures will draw the lines in 36 states.

The Republican Governors Association and Republican State Leadership Committee are separately focused on winning gubernatorial and state legislative races in order to secure seats at the redistricting table.

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