An organization founded by former President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder has pledged to pour millions of dollars into key races in several battleground states as part of a plan to erode Republican control over the critical redistricting process.
The National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC), founded by Holder last year, has focused a significant amount of resources on gubernatorial seats, state legislative races, and other state-level races in an effort to chip away at Republican control of the redistricting process – specifically, Holder cited a desire to deny Republicans state government trifectas, where a single party controls the governorship and an entire legislature.
“From my perspective, success is if you break a trifecta,” Holder said. “I don’t think that in December of 2018, you measure success only by whether you have assumed control of a particular state.”
In Ohio, the NDRC has pledged to support the Democratic candidate in the contentious race to replace term-limited Republican Governor John Kasich, as well as the Democratic candidates for State Auditor and Secretary of State (both offices are currently held by Republicans, as Senator Sherrod Brown is the only Democrat currently elected to state-wide office).
Holder and Obama will also help Democrats compete for gubernatorial seats and control of the state Senate in Florida, where Republican Governor Rick Scott is term-limited, and Wisconsin, where incumbent Republican Governor Scott Walker is running for reelection.
While North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper is a Democrat, Republicans control both chambers of the state legislature by significant margins – another state the NDRC intends to invest financial resources.
Beyond traditional battleground states, Holder said his group is eyeing more daunting targets, including the open gubernatorial race in Georgia as well as seats in the Texas Legislature.
Both Holder and Obama have pledged to make personal campaign appearances in many key states in the lead up to the 2018 midterms.
Democrats are looking to Pennsylvania as a state they can make progress in challenging Republican control of the redistricting process after the State Supreme Court recently declared congressional lines drawn after the 2010 Census by an all-Republican state government unconstitutional (its worth noting Democrats recently captured control of the State Supreme Court, as well as the governorship, potentially leading one to question the impartiality of the court’s ruling).
Despite their relentless criticism of Republicans for gerrymandering, Democrats have warped congressional districts to ensure political control in states where they have control of the state legislature, most notably Illinois and Maryland.