Files expose Republican strategist's massive racial gerrymandering scheme: report

Files expose Republican strategist's massive racial gerrymandering scheme: report
Gage Skidmore

When long-time GOP strategist Thomas Hofeller died at the age of 75 on August 26, 2018, he went down in history as a mastery of gerrymandering — especially gerrymandering along racial lines. And according to a report by journalist David Daley published in The Intercept this week, Hofeller was involved in gerrymandering in even more states than originally thought.

Hofeller is remembered for fighting dirty: his efforts to redraw districts to give Republicans an unfair advantage in parts of North Carolina, Virginia, Missouri and Texas have been widely reported. But according to Daley, Hofeller was also involved in redistricting in Alabama, Florida and West Virginia in 2010. The Intercept, Daley reports, took a close look at “thousands of documents and e-mails culled from (Hofeller’s) hard drives” — and found that based on its analysis, “Hofeller and other Republican mapmakers experimented with using race as the primary factor in drawing districts.”

Daley explains: “Among the trove of over 70,000 documents are draft maps with voter data broken down by race, spreadsheets that include the home addresses of members of Congress, travel plans and legislation marked up by Hofeller himself.”

According to Daley, the documents The Intercept has obtained “shed additional light on the coordinated national strategy behind maps that locked in a GOP advantage in Congress and in state legislatures nationwide” and “reveal the sophisticated racial data that drove GOP mapmaking in several states, potentially opening new avenues for litigation challenging these plans as unconstitutional racial gerrymanders.”

In the 2018 midterms, Democrats enjoyed a net gain of 40 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Yet some Democrats have argued that they would have picked up even more seats last year had so many congressional districts not been heavily gerrymandered by the GOP.

According to anti-gerrymandering activists, Hofeller played a key role in Republican efforts to get a citizenship question added to the 2020 U.S. Census — although the Trump Justice Department flatly denied that allegation.

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