Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire Republican mega-donor, plans to start a super PAC that would help the GOP again control the state-level redistricting process, CNN reports:
Adelson has begun sounding out other contributors, such as the Ricketts family, on forming a new super PAC that would focus on governors’ races and state legislative races ahead of the next redistricting cycle in 2020. Adelson would be willing to commit substantial resources to the group, which is still in early talks but is envisioned as a heavyweight GOP group similar to the Senate Leadership Fund or Congressional Leadership Fund.
The goal, to be clear, is to win or maintain control of state governments in the 2020 election. That would allow Republicans to be in charge of the 2021 redistricting process in as many states as possible, then gerrymander the maps in their favor.
The GOP carried out a similar plan in the last redistricting cycle, under the leadership of the experienced Republican operative Ed Gillespie. They poured an unprecedented sum into 2010 state legislative and governors’ races, and emerged with full control of state governments in key states including Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Virginia, and North Carolina. Then in 2011, they used that control to draw state legislative and congressional district lines to their advantage.
The result was that in the 2012 election, Democratic candidates for the U.S. House won about 10 million more votes than Republicans, but the GOP won a comfortable majority. Experts estimate that Democrats would need to win about 55 percent of the national vote to win control of the House.
Democrats are gearing up their own effort to control states with an eye on the redistricting process. The advanced planning by both parties underlines how important control of the redistricting process is, in an era when sophisticated software can allow lawmakers to draw district lines to maximize their votes, and waste those of the other party, more efficiently than ever.