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RSLC REDMAP Rundown – July 27th, 2010


Welcome to this week’s edition of REDMAP Rundown, a synopsis of redistricting news brought to you by the RSLC’s REDistricting MAjority Project (REDMAP).  This weekly update gives you the latest on what those in the Beltway, and across the country, are saying about the impending reapportionment and redistricting process.

In this week’s REDMAP Rundown: Massive Dem losses predicted, Spotlighting state races, redistricting is a “high-stakes” war, Sweeping change in Pennsylvania, Delaware House trends, Koch’s enemies, “Communities of Interest,” Cali narrows and Jersey’s 800-pound Gorilla.

Real Clear Politics’ Sean Trende writes, “Four months out from Election Day, the Democrats will probably lose the House and are in some danger of losing the Senate. But losing those legislative bodies would not be the most damaging aspect of the impending tsunami heading toward the Democratic Party. … These losses are likely to be massive, and illustrate the size of the impending voter revolt. And they could not come at a worse time. Combined with likely statehouse gains, they threaten to put Republicans in charge of redistricting for the first time in several generations, and will potentially provide the GOP with a top-tier crop of Presidential hopefuls in the future.”

The inaugural “State Race Spotlight” for begins, “Every decade the U.S. Congress plays musical chairs to the tune of the Census population counts – only in this re-apportionment version, the number of chairs stays the same, they just move to different states. By the time the counting (but not the arguing) is done in 2011, Texas looks to gain at least 3 additional seats in its Congressional delegation, thanks to strong population growth that has held up even as the recession has slowed growth in other formerly booming states. … In the Texas statehouse, the stakes are even higher, as the district boundaries will shift to reflect the growth at the suburban edges of Texas’ major cities. This will not be a quiet debate, as several rural incumbents could find themselves in a showdown with another incumbent for a consolidated district, while incumbents in the booming areas could find themselves living outside of their districts.”

“National party leaders are raising hundreds of millions for a high-stakes redistricting war that will define the political playing field for the next decade,” National Journal reports.  Voters typically ignore redistricting, the complex, often secretive process of redrawing the legislative and congressional district lines after the decennial census. But this year, redistricting is almost hot. GOP leaders historically have relied on the Republican National Committee to lead the redistricting effort. But this year they’re branching out, tapping a network of new 501(c)4 and 527 organizations for fundraising and technical help. These include the Republican State Leadership Committee, a 527 headed by Ed Gillespie, former counselor to President George W. Bush.”

“If Republicans pick up just three seats in the 203-member Pennsylvania House of Representatives in the November election, it could bring sweeping policy changes to a state that can’t seem to make up its mind whether it wants to be blue or red,” reports The Associated Press. “The campaign news this summer has focused on the two high-profile races for governor and U.S. Senate, but the outcome of legislative races could largely determine what the state does about its multibillion-dollar budget shortfall, the funding crisis for public-sector pensions and redistricting — not to mention the thousands of bills lawmakers will introduce over the coming two-year session.”

“This is about trying to take back the majority in the state House of Representatives,” reports Delaware’s Dover Post.  “The 2010 election could be the last one for a long time to give the Republicans a chance to reclaim the House. The next session of the General Assembly is responsible for redistricting — the redrawing of the districts every 10 years to keep them equal in population — and Democratic majorities in both chambers could map with premeditated malice and get away with it. … Enough seats are in play for the Republicans conceivably to make a run at the majority.”

“About 110 people, including Democratic leaders of the state Senate and Assembly, are on the ‘Enemies of Reform’ list released Thursday by New York Uprising, a non-partisan coalition led by former New York City Mayor Ed Koch.  The group received signed pledges from 240 candidates who agreed to work for non-partisan, independent redistricting, an independent budget office and additional improvements to the budget process, and stronger ethics laws.  All 29 Senate Republicans are on board, even those who are not running for re-election.”

“Bravo Corpus Christi-area residents,” the Corpus Christi Caller editorializes, “for a healthy turnout at Wednesday’s state hearing on redistricting. The City Council chambers seating was packed. The consensus concept that emerged from the comments was that state House, Senate and congressional districts should encompass ‘communities of interest.’”

The Sacramento Bee reports, “The pool of potential members for the state’s legislative redistricting commission has been narrowed to 120 applicants, who will undergo personal interviews.  An ‘applicant review panel’ convened by the state auditor’s office — as decreed by Proposition 11, passed by voters in 2008 — winnowed the pool down to 40 Democrats, 40 Republicans and 40 independents who appear to roughly mirror the cultural makeup of the state’s population.”

Frank Hannon opines, “The minute the Census of 2010 becomes official and is on the Internet, you can bet 133 New Jersey residents will be analyzing the results. Included in the group will be 13 sitting congressmen and 120 New Jersey legislators.  With the census comes mandatory redistricting of both congressional and state legislative districts. There is not much public interest in the once-every-decade process but to New Jersey congressmen, state senators, and assembly members it is the 800-pound gorilla that can make or break them.”

The RSLC is the only national organization whose mission is to elect down ballot state-level Republican office-holders.  To sign up for the REDMAP Rundown, or for more information or media inquiries, please contact Adam Temple at 571.480.4891.

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