California Republicans are waging war against freshly drawn state Senate district boundaries.
Is it a war of principle? Hardly.
GOP pols fear the new map will help Democrats gain a two-thirds majority in the state Senate, stripping Republicans of leverage on tax legislation.
The irony is cruel. Republicans backed ballot initiatives transferring the once-every-decade redistricting duty from self-interested legislators to an independent commission composed equally of Democrats, Republicans and independents.
When Republican strategists got a load of the new maps, however, they vowed to fight the Senate and congressional boundaries in the courts and at the polls.
Unfortunately, the toxic referendum to repeal the new Senate map is gaining traction. The California Republican Party has announced a $400,000 donation to the campaign, which has collected 400,000 signatures. Slightly more than 500,000 valid signatures are required to qualify for the November 2012 ballot.
California, it should be noted, has a freighted redistricting history.
In both 1970 and 1990, Republican governors vetoed redistricting plans, forcing the Supreme Court to appoint “special masters” to draw the lines. In 1980, Republicans initiated a successful referendum against Democratic gerrymandering.
If the Republicans qualify the current referendum, it will be 1980 revisited. The new Senate map will be placed on hold until the November 2012 vote. In the meantime, the high court will have to decide if the 2012 Senate elections will rely on the old map (unlikely), the new map (likely) or a court-approved map (not unlikely). Obviously, Republicans are hoping for the latter dice roll.
Instead of pleading for relief from the refs, Republicans should be focusing on playing a stronger game in a state that’s getting bluer every year.
Stop crabbing about districts and run candidates who appeal to independents and Latinos.
Yeah, I agree with this and would like to see the money gathered to support the California State Senate Redistricting referendum go towards a referendum on SB 202 which changes initiative and rerferendum elections to general elections in November only.
But, this may be the strategy.
We will see.