Attorney General Eric Holder and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe want Democratic donors to focus on rebuilding party numbers in statehouses nationwide, according to a Wednesday report from The New York Times.
McAuliffe joined Holder to head up the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, a group devoted to ensuring that Democrats add representation during the redistricting process, which will be based on the 2020 national census.
The two men worry that Democratic donors focus too much on presidential elections, and not enough on the elections which control down ballot races nationwide.
“We’ve got to be smarter about how we’re building the future of this party,” McAuliffe told the Times. “We have been decimated at the state level, and it’s at the state level that they draw the maps. We raise all this money in the presidential, and then everybody goes away.”
“It doesn’t matter how much money you have if we don’t have lines where Democrats can run competitively and win.”
Republicans focused intensely on down ballot races after President Barack Obama won the 2008 presidential election, Holder asserts. That focus fueled Republican gains in the House and Senate in the years since, slowly but surely strengthening the Republican Party’s position.
“The tasks that (Obama) had placed before him were made a lot more difficult, progress a lot more difficult, than it needed to be,” Holder said during the interview. “That’s because of the Congress that he had to deal with, which was a function of the 2010 redistricting effort.”
Republicans currently control all three governing bodies in 25 states, and have a majority in one or both bodies of state legislatures in the majority of other states. Democrats understand they can’t get a majority to redraw the districts themselves after the 2020 census, but if Holder can draft enough quality candidates nationwide, Democrats would at least be able to have a voice when the lines are decided in statehouses across the country.
Holder kicked off a fundraising tour Thursday that aims to fill the redistricting committee’s coffers in preparation for the 2017 and 2018 races. Democrats need to move quickly to find and fund candidates in targeted districts in order to run effective campaigns.
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