“Obama has decided to make the byzantine process of legislative redistricting a central political priority in his first years after the presidency.”
Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin,
“Eric Holder to Lead Democrats’ Attack on Republican Gerrymandering”
The New York Times, 1/11/17
The REDMAP 2010 program worked by taking advantage of a political wave environment through the RSLC’s effective strategy and deployment of resources. The RSLC spent $30 million to flip 21 chambers, nearly the same amount each Party and its allies spent in the GA-6 special election fighting over one seat in Congress. It paid off.
The flipping of nearly 1,000 legislative seats following the inception of the RSLC’s 2010 REDMAP program occurred in legislative districts drawn primarily by Democrats, who controlled the redistricting process in most states for the previous generation.
In REDMAP target states, the Party that controls the state legislative majorities controls the pen to draw fair and constitutional lines for state legislature and Congress. After 2010, state legislatures had the responsibility to draw 361 congressional districts or 83% of the U.S. House of Representatives. Republicans drew 193 districts while the Democrats drew 44. 103 districts were drawn in states with split control, while 88 were commission based and 7 were at large.
But it’s not just Republican wave election years where RSLC investment makes a difference. Even in the most difficult environment to date this decade, state Republicans won 410 legislative seats in district boundaries that Obama won at the top of the ticket.
National Democrats, led by President Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder, have declared they want to rebuild the Democrat Party from the states by ‘borrowing’ from the RSLC’s Project REDMAP (WRAL.com, 7.15.17)
Seeing this pivot coming, RSLC, in partnership with the State Government Leadership Foundation, launched the REDMAP 2020 program in 2015.
Winning state level elections and holding majorities in states that are constitutionally responsible for drawing congressional and state legislative district lines is the most important of REDMAP’s success.