GOP Flips on Redistricting Proposition It Pushed for Ballot

Monday, August 13, 2012

After spending more than $1.6 million leading the charge to overturn the state’s Senate redistricting plan by putting Proposition 40 on November’s ballot, the California Republican Party reversed its position and endorsed the changes at its convention Sunday in Burbank.

Prop. 40 lets voters decide whether district lines drawn by the 14-member Independent Redistricting Commission should be adopted. The commission consisted of five Democrats, five Republicans and four independent or minor-party voters and at least three yes votes from each bloc were required to pass new district maps. The Republican Party accused the commission of bias.

It joined the California Chamber of Commerce in flipping on the issue after the state Supreme Court ruled that the newly-drawn lines would be used in the next statewide election. GOP leaders said that they had pushed for the referendum as a way of forcing use of the old districts in November, but the high court action made the issue moot.

Senate Minority leader Bob Huff told a GOP convention committee pondering the party’s stance on the issue that part of the reason for the reversal was new confidence that Republicans could manage to win 14 seats in the 40-seat body and prevent Democrats from having a crucial two-thirds majority. But the party’s precarious financial situation may have played a role.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported last month that the party is in debt, falling behind in its bills, laying off staff and moving out of its main Sacramento headquarters.

The proposition will remain on the ballot, but its sponsors won’t raise money to mount a campaign in its support, according to Republican strategist Dave Gilliard, who spearheaded the original campaign to put the measure before voters.

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

Redistricting Measure Backers Throw in the Towel, Won't Seek Passage (by Jim Sanders, Sacramento Bee)

GOP Turning 180-Degrees to Oppose Its Redistricting Referendum (by Dan Walters, Sacramento Bee)

CalChamber Signs Ballot Arguments Supporting Proposition 40 (California Chamber of Commerce)

Prop 40 Funding (KCET)

Fairness & Accountability in Redistricting Ballot Measure (California Secretary of State’s Office)

California GOP Stance on Propositions (California Republican Party)

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