Republicans kick in money to block new Senate districts

Republicans backing an effort to overturn the newly drawn state Senate districts pumped $120,000 into the campaign this week, including $95,000 from the California Republican party.

The funding emerged as Republicans said they were turning in voter signatures on petitions to county registrars across the state as part of their campaign, called Fairness and Accountability in Redistricting. They need to collect at least 504,000 valid signatures to place the measure before voters next November. The proposed measure is a referendum, which asks voters if they want to keep the new maps or throw them out.

The new districts were crafted by an independent citizens’ commission approved by voters. The panel also drew up maps for the 80-district Assembly, the 53 districts of California’s congressional delegation and the four seats in the state Board of Equalization.

Financial documents filed with the state’s election officer showed $60,000 from the state Republican Party to the referendum campaign on Wednesday, and $35,000 from the party the day before. Sen. Bob Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga, a local supervisorial candidate, donated  $25,000.

The redistricting commission was created to draw new maps in part to rewrite the earlier, deeply partisan boundaries that had been devised to protect incumbents of both parties and which came under criticism from political reform groups for much of the decade. Those maps, the culmination of a leadership agreement that even included the blessing of the White House, reflected changes in the 2000 census.

The latest maps reflect the 2010 census. By law, the boundaries must be redrawn once a decade to accommodate the shifts in population. Until recently, the Legislature, controlled by Democrats, drew up its own districts.


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