Even though Republicans made historic gains at the state level in 2010 that gave them unprecedented control over redistricting, they are currently lacking a unifying organization to lead the process.
And the absence of such a group is starting to cause alarm in Republican circles.
One such Republican is former NRCC Chairman Tom Reynolds. Reynolds is particularly invested in redistricting because he helped spearhead the GOP’s efforts in 2010 that netted Republicans nearly700 new seats in statehouses across the country at the Republican State Leadership Committee. Reynolds directly oversaw the RSLC’s REDMAP program, the group’s primary fundraising arm.
Despite those gains, though, Reynolds said the GOP is in something of holding pattern without an organization dedicated to raising money and focused on redistricting.
“I’ve been surprised that I didn’t see the party yearning for some sort of outside effort to get the map-making up and going,” Reynolds told Hotline On Call. “Normally instead of having the party pay for that, someone on the outside would take that initiative and I haven’t seen that leadership.”
The big reason why parties turn to outside groups for redistricting efforts — and especially legal issues that arise from redistricting — has to do with campaign finance rules. Parties cannot use soft money — unlimited contributions from corporate sources– to pay for their redistricting efforts. Outside groups can and a nationwide redistricting effort is likely to run about $20 million, according to Democrats and Republicans who have been involved in the process previously.
It looked like Republicans had such an organization when former Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and veteran Republican strategist Charlie Black set up Making America’s Promise Secure (or MAPS) in 2009. That group is virtually non-existent now, according to Republicans involved in the redistricting effort, including Reynolds. (Efforts to reach MAPS were unsuccessful.)
“There needs to be some other entity to come forward,” Reynolds said.