Scott Walker

The National Democratic Redistricting Committee is targeting Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in his bid for re-election. 

Photo: Gage Skidmore

A group chaired by former Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. is targeting 12 states in the 2018 election — and Wisconsin is one of them.

The National Democratic Redistricting Committee says the Wisconsin races for governor and state senate are critical. This is the first cycle where officials elected will serve in the redistricting process that begins in 2021, following the 2020 census.

The NDRC, as “the only entity looking at the electoral map through the lens of redistricting,” is spotlighting the elections most important for adjusting the balance of the power in the redistricting process.

The group is focused on nine gubernatorial races, 20 legislative chambers, two ballot initiatives and two “down-ballot” races. States in NDRC’s focus for 2018 include Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.

NDRC is “watching” races in another eight states.

Holder, in a statement, said, “Gerrymandering contributes to the political polarization and dysfunction in this country and is a threat to our democracy. In 2011, Republicans created gerrymandered districts that locked themselves into power and shut out voters from the electoral process.”

A potentially landmark redistricting case from Wisconsin, Gill v. Whitford, is before the U.S. Supreme Court. Already in Gill, a federal court has ruled the state’s legislative district maps are unconstitutional, the result of partisan gerrymandering.

About Wisconsin, the NDRC says, “Our electoral targets include flipping the governor’s seat and the state Senate. We recently supported Democrat Patty Schachtner in the state Senate special election, flipping a seat President Trump won last year.”

NDRC plans to invest time and resources in Wisconsin and the other 11 states, and aims to turn out young people and people of color at the polls.

Holder said the goal is to “ensure Democrats, who will fight for fairness, have a seat at the table when the maps are drawn in 2021.”

In a development related to the 2020 census and redistricting, the Trump administration’s pick for a key position overseeing the 2020 census, political scientist Thomas Brunell, apparently is no longer under consideration for the post.

The selection of Brunell had drawn criticism from Democrats and civil rights groups citing his lack of administrative experience and support of Republican-led efforts to redraw congressional districts later determined to be excessively partisan. 

Brunell wrote the 2008 book, Redistricting and Representation: Why Competitive Elections are Bad for America, which argued partisan districts allow for better representation. 


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