Santa Fe – As Democrats lick their wounds after the 2016 election, Republicans now control both chambers in 32 states, the largest state legislative majority held by the GOP since 1920. Democrats will have total control of just 13 state legislatures.
A big contributor to the success of the GOP has been attributed to an organized and well-funded push to win back legislative chambers the GOP lost before 2010, when they had only 14 states where they controlled both chambers. Those efforts paid off, and Republicans won full control of legislative chambers in 25 states, positioning themselves nicely for the last redistricting process that started in 2011.
With the 2020 redistricting process seemingly around the corner, Democrats are committed to not making the same mistake. Last October, former Attorney General Eric Holder announced that he would be the chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, a new group meant to take the lead in Democratic redistricting efforts. President Barack Obama has identified the NDRC as the focus of his political activity once he leaves office.
“This unprecedented new effort will ensure Democrats have a seat at the table to create fairer maps after 2020,” Holder said. The group has been incorporated as a 527, which can raise unlimited amounts of money but must disclose their contributions and expenditures.
New Mexico has some connections to the Democrats’ DC-based redistricting efforts due to Congressman Ben Ray Luján’s role as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. An initial fundraising pitch for the idea was made to major donors in Philadelphia back in July during the DNC convention, led by the governors of Virginia and Connecticut, Nancy Pelosi, and Ben Ray Luján.
This morning Kelly Ward, the executive director of the DCCC for the last four years, was announced as the interim executive director of the NDRC. Replacing her is Daniel Sena, the DCCC’s deputy executive director and manager of Senator Udall’s successful 2014 Senate campaign. Sena is a Santa Fe native and is the first Hispanic to hold the job.