EXCLUSIVE – The GOP's primary organization to coordinate the party’s redistricting strategy and build resources for its legal defense on Thursday unveiled its new co-chairs and top strategist.
The National Republican Redistricting Trust (NRRT), in an announcement shared first with Fox News, said that former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will serve as national co-chairs of the organization, with longtime GOP strategist Karl Rove joining the group in the role of senior adviser.
NRRT president and executive director Adam Kincaid highlighted that Pompeo and Christie "will be tremendous assets as we raise the resources needed to fight back against the left’s attempts to sue to blue."
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Christie and Pompeo, in a joint interview with Fox News, emphasized the importance of their mission. "There’s nothing more important … than making sure that we do everything we can to draw fair maps because we believe that fair maps will lead to a Republican majority in 2022," Christie said.
And Pompeo highlighted that the organization’s efforts "will level the competitive playing field to give the American people a shot at fair maps and that’s why Gov. Christie and I are so committed to getting the resources and getting them to the right people to executive this in a way that is professional and delivers a good outcome."
In the years following the 2010 redistricting cycle, courts tossed out maps draw by Republicans in four states – Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas – ruling that Republicans improperly used the party affiliations and race of voters to draw lines that favored GOP candidates, which is known as gerrymandering. Judges redrew the maps, giving the Democrats better chances to win House seats. Republicans argue that without the court rulings, they would currently control the House.
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The NRRT was formed in 2017, amid those court rulings, to serve as the central redistricting resource for Republicans in all 50 states. That same year the National Democratic Redistricting Committee was also formed. It’s lead by former Attorney General Eric Holder and supported by former President Barack Obama.
Rove, who was President George W. Bush’s top political adviser during his two presidential campaigns and in the White House and who’s a longtime Fox News contributor and political analyst, charged that "Obama and Holder claim to oppose ‘extreme partisan gerrymandering,’ but the truth is they support the far left rigging the maps to ensure Democratic control."
Democrats will be defending their razor-thin majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate in next year’s midterm elections. The GOP needs a net gain of just one seat in the 100-member Senate, and just five seats in the 435-member House, to regain majorities in the two chambers of Congress.
The current redistricting process, pegged to the 2020 census, is expected to generally favor Republicans over Democrats, thanks to the GOP’s control of more governor’s offices and state legislative chambers than the Democrats. And both parties are laying the groundwork for expected legal battles from coast to coast over the once-in-a decade redistricting process.
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"The only way that we don’t take that majority back is if the Obama-Holder group engages in lawsuits and activities that gerrymanders districts like they did in the ten years between 2010 and 2020," Christie argued. "As a Republican leader in this country, I can’t think of anything that would be more important to do than to raise the awareness and give those folks, state to state, the resources they need to draw fair and legal maps."
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 27, 2020: Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie listens as then-President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the Briefing Room of the White House on September 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)
Pompeo, a Fox News contributor, charged that "we know how this is going to go. The Democrats are going to sue in every place that they can to get maps that deliver them."
"We can’t let the Obama-Holder team run over us in the way they have done before. It’s not right and it’s not fair to the American people. It won’t yield fair maps," he emphasized. "This will level the competitive playing field to give the American people a shot at fair maps and that’s why Gov. Christie and I are so committed to getting the resources and getting them to the right people to executive this in a way that is professional and delivers a good outcome."
Christie stressed that he and Pompeo are "going to be the rhetorical counter weight to Obama and Holder. We are not going to let them say and do the things they did the last time around without being rebutted."
And he explained that part of their mission "is to make the public understand that it’s Democrats – and it’s in their own mission statement of their group – that they want to get maps that are favorable to Democrats. We’ve got to make sure the public understands that Republicans want fair maps. Because if we have fair maps, then we’re going to wind up winning the majority in the House."
In a sign of how serious Republicans are taking the burgeoning fight over redistricting, the reelection arm of House Republicans earlier this year transferred $2 million to the NRRT. And a key part of Christie and Pompeo’s mission is the raise resources.
"This is all just talk if we don’t have the resources," Pompeo stressed.
Christie added that "your job when you’re a chair or co-chair of an organization like this is two-fold. It’s one to make sure that the resources are there. And then also to assure the donors that you’re going to make sure that the resources are spent wisely."
Christie said their message to Republicans in the states who involved in the redistricting process is "if you follow the law, follow the Constitution and develop maps that are going to be able to be sustainable for the next ten years, then I think we’re moving towards a ten year Republican majority in the House…here’s no tricks here, there’s no silver bullet, there’s nothing fancy on the Republican side. It’s as the say in football, ‘three yards and a cloud of dust.’"
Pompeo argued that "we need to be on offense. We need to be fearless. We need to know that no matter how fair we try to be in the process, that Democrats are going to go to court and sue and try to find a favorable forum so they can gerrymander these districts in a way that protects their majority."
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And he said that he and Christie "can make clear to our Republican leaders all across the country that we’ll have their backs, we’ll be with them, that there is a team out there to support them, there are resources available."
Pompeo and Christie are expected to speak more about their redistricting efforts in an interview Friday morning on Fox News’ "Fox & Friends."