The GOP’s Big Prize In 2010: Redistricting

Republican State Leadership Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie predicts a $30 million effort to elect GOP party members at the state level will cause at least 10 legislative chambers to flip from Democrat to Republican in November, giving Republicans greater power in redrawing Congressional districts.

“That can have an impact on the US House composition for a decade because of the redistricting process,” Mr. Gillespie, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, said at a Monitor-sponsored breakfast for reporters on Thursday.

The US Constitution requires congressional seats to be reapportioned among the states every 10 years, based on population data from the latest census. The Supreme Court has held that each US House district should contain a roughly equal number of people. So states with more than one district have to adjust district lines, a process overseen by state legislatures.

“I know first-hand, having been through three redistrictings, how important it is who has the pen in their hands when they are drawing the next cycle of elections,” RSLC Vice Chairman Thomas Reynolds said at the breakfast. Mr. Reynolds is a former chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee which focuses on increasing the number of Republicans in Congress.

RSLC Chair Gillespie said he was “very confident” that Republicans would win control of the Indiana House, the Ohio House, the Pennsylvania House, and the Wisconsin Senate.

In addition to holding all of the chambers now controlled by Republicans, Gillespie said “we are safely assuming that we will take half of the next 12 that are in play.” He listed those candidates for changing control as: the Alabama House and Senate, the Colorado House and Senate, the Iowa House and Senate, the Michigan House, the New York Senate, the North Carolina House and Senate, the Oregon Senate, and the Wisconsin House.”

That would give the GOP a minimum pickup of 10 legislative chambers at the end of this cycle. “That would be the most for Republicans since 1994, which was a wave election,” Gillespie said.

The RSLC expects to spend $30 million on the 2009-2010 election cycle, Mr. Gillespie said. Only a portion of that total will be devoted to electing members of state legislatures. The remainder of the funds will go toward electing Republicans to other state-wide offices like Attorney General, Lieutenant Governor, and Secretary of State.

Read more from Dave Cook at The Christian Science Monitor

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