Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern blasted the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for refusing to help fund the party’s efforts to fight the state’s new Congressional map.
“I’m deeply disappointed by the response from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee,” Redfern told Roll Call. “Knowing that we had a chance to limit our losses as a Congressional delegation and actually, we were in one of those rare situations, where we could have dictated our future from a map-drawing standpoint.”
Earlier this year, Ohio Republicans drew an aggressive new map intended to give the GOP a 12-to-4 advantage in the delegation next Congress. There are 13 Republican and five Democratic Members under the current map.
Ohio Democrats attempted to collect the requisite 231,000 valid signatures to put the map up for a vote on the 2012 ballot. They hoped to repeat their recent success repealing a collective bargaining law via a similar ballot referendum last November — or at least come close enough to force the GOP’s hand to draw a new, more competitive map.
But Democrats fell short of their signature goal and threw in the towel last week. On Wednesday night, Democratic legislators caved to vote for a slightly revised version of the Congressional map.
“It was obvious, given our profound partnership with our friends in Washington, we would have been able to stop implementation of one of the worst gerrymandered maps that had been produced,” Redfern said. “But we lost that opportunity.”
Redfern said he asked for funds from the national party’s multimillion-dollar redistricting trust, but the DCCC declined.
“The DCCC is working in partnership with allies in Ohio and across the country on redistricting,” DCCC spokeswoman Jennifer Crider said. “We are aggressively working to protect every Democratic seat possible and increase our opportunities where we can.”
But Redfern argued Ohio Democrats deserved their financial help. First off, he said the party proved they could successfully repeal a law with a ballot referendum just a few weeks earlier. Redfern added that the number of Democratic pickup opportunities lost under the new map was too great for national Democrats to forfeit.
“I respect the fact that the DCCC can’t fund every effort,” Redfern said. “But we’re not talking about one seat, we’re talking about three or four or five or six Congressional seats. Just do the math.”
Redfern, a former state Representative, has served as head of the Ohio Democrats since late 2005.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.