Politics

Republican Group Ready to Spend Big on Redistricting

Operatives to raise $35 million for GOP efforts after 2020 Census

The National Republican Redistricting Trust will channel most of its resources to helping Republicans currently in office use data and the law to mold districts in 2021. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A new Republican group launched a campaign Thursday to counter the efforts of an organization chaired by former Attorney General Eric Holder to redistrict Congressional boundaries more favorably to Democrats after the 2020 U.S. Census.

The National Republican Redistricting Trust announced it would raise $35 million by the 2021 redistricting to combat Holder’s group, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, or NDRC, and assist the GOP in future redistricting cases.

Republicans in recent years have gained control of statehouses nationwide. They own a majority in 32 state legislatures and occupy 33 governor seats.

They used this advantage in 2010 to redraw Congressional boundaries to skew election results in their favor — to devastating effect: the GOP snared 55 percent of House seats in the 2016 cycle even though its candidates barely captured more votes than Democrats by 1 percent.

Democrats blame these results on partisan gerrymandering.

“Republican gerrymandered districts after the 2010 Census have put Democrats at a massive structural disadvantage,” the NDRC’s website says. “That’s why the most important turning point for the future of the Democratic Party will take place in 2021: when states redraw their Congressional and state legislative lines.”

Republicans deny these claims.

“You will notice how many Republicans are sitting in districts that Clinton won, districts that Obama won. Yet we still win those districts. That is not a cause of redistricting,” Guy Harrison, a former executive director at the National Republican Congressional Committee, told The Associated Press.

“That is a cause of us having quality candidates that can win the unique circumstances of those districts.”

The Republican and Democratic operations will diverge in some areas.

While Holder’s NDRC plans to shovel money into the campaigns of key state election candidates, the National Republican Redistricting Trust will channel most of its resources to helping Republicans currently in office use data and the law to mold districts in 2021.

Harrison said the new GOP group, of which he is a senior adviser, will also go after Democrat-controlled states. He alleged some have drawn lines to divide urban populations, which spreads Democratic-leaning voters across more districts while keeping the center urban district safely in Democratic hands.

“It’s amazing how much they had to carve up Baltimore to make sure they reduced the Republican congressional district down by one,” Harrison said, highlighting one example.

“One of the things we failed to do last cycle was go on offense in some of these states,” he said.

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