- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 6, 2017

A political action committee launched by veterans of the Obama White House and business allies said Wednesday their push to give Democrats more say over redistricting in 2021 starts this fall with the legislative races in Virginia, where they hope to flip control of the House of Delegates.

Leaders of Forward Majority said the push in Virginia is part of a broader effort aimed at taking over as many as eight legislative chambers in 2018 and as many as eight more in 2020 — putting Democrats in a stronger position the following year when it is time to update legislative and congressional maps.

“As an organization, we have a singular goal: to take back state legislative chambers in key states across the country,” said Forward Majority Executive Director David Cohen. “Not only do state legislatures control much of the redistricting process, they are also a key talent pipeline, help build our grassroots infrastructure, and are the first line of defense against the most extreme policies. It is not enough to resist. We need a proactive plan to win back power and defend our values.”

In Virginia, Democrats need to flip control of 17 seats to take over the 100-seat House of Delegates

“To start, we are going to put seats in play that expand the map of competitive districts in the Virginia House of Delegates,” said Forward Majority Chief Operating Officer Vicky Hausman. “To win, we will run powerful, efficient campaigns to support Democratic legislative candidates and bring the necessary muscle to win state chambers back for Democrats. Virginia is considered one of the most gerrymandered states at the legislative level, and the map is rigged to Republicans’ advantage.”

The effort has the support of Reps. Joe Kennedy and Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, as well as Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, the group announced.

After expanding their congressional majorities in 2008, Democrats suffered major losses in 2010. They lost control of the House of Representatives, as well as a number of state legislative seats and governor’s mansions.

They have struggled to reverse that trend, and Republicans have benefited from their gains when it came to carving out state and congressional districts that helped strengthen their electoral chances in future elections.

Before the 2010 election, Democrats controlled 27 state legislative chambers, while Republicans held 14, and the remainder were split between the two parties and one was unicameral nonpartisan, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

As of March, Republicans controlled 32 legislatures, Democrats controlled 14 legislatures, three legislatures were split, and one is unicameral nonpartisan.

The structural advantages carved out through redistricting has helped the GOP seize control of 18 seats in the House, according to Forward Majority.

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