New Progressive Redistricting Coalition Forms With Eyes On Just Nine States

FILE - In this Tuesday, May 8, 2018, file photo, voters leave a polling place in Charlotte, N.C. On Monday, Aug. 27, 2018, judges affirmed their earlier decision striking North Carolina's congressional districts as u... FILE - In this Tuesday, May 8, 2018, file photo, voters leave a polling place in Charlotte, N.C. On Monday, Aug. 27, 2018, judges affirmed their earlier decision striking North Carolina's congressional districts as unconstitutional because Republicans drew them with excessive partisanship. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File) MORE LESS
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April 30, 2019 2:00 p.m.

A trio of progressive organizations founded in the wake of President Trump’s election are joining forces to focus on just one issue: gerrymandering.

The Grassroots Redistricting Project — a coalition formed by Swing Left, Run for Something, and Arena — announced Tuesday that it was established to “help end the unfair Republican practice of rigging maps to win elections.”

“If Democrats don’t win back key state legislative chambers in 2020, Republicans will continue to draw unfair district maps such that we’ll lose the House in 2022—even if Democrats get more votes—and never, ever in it back,” the project’s website reads.

The targets are state legislative races in just nine swing states key to national control: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Texas.

They’re the same targets that the Grassroots Redistricting Project’s larger cousin, former attorney general Eric Holder’s National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC), has identified as must-wins before the once-a-decade redistricting process gets underway in 2021.

Both groups say they’re not interested in gerrymandering congressional and legislative maps to benefit Democrats, but instead want a seat at the table when those new maps get drawn. The NDRC has backed ballot initiatives to form independent or bipartisan citizen-led redistricting commissions in states like Michigan so that partisan lawmakers no longer control this process.

The GOP’s answer to these organizations, the National Republican Redistricting Trust (NRRT), insists that such commissions are “easily and often gamed by the Dems.” The NRRT is also pouring millions into state legislative races with the 2021 redistricting process in mind and the explicit goal of securing maps that further entrench Republican control at the state level.

The Grassroots Redistricting Project is adapting a three-pronged approach to make headway in their target states, per their site. Run for Something will recruit state legislative candidates; Swing Left will raise money for the candidates and coordinate volunteers; and Arena will recruit and train campaign staff.

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