New evidence submitted on the eve of a landmark trial challenging Michigan’s GOP-drawn legislative districts appears to strengthen the claim the maps were drawn in 2011 for partisan, Republican gain. Emails and other documents filed over the weekend in federal court show that Republicans saw the redistricting process as a way to consolidate its power and ensure a GOP majority in the state house, senate and the U.S. Congressional delegation. “Now that we had a spectacular election outcome, it’s time to make sure Democrats cannot take it away from us in 2011 and 2012,” according to a “redistricting essentials” memo issued in November, 2010, by the national Republican Party and shared with the Michigan GOP just after it swept to historic majorities in Michigan.
Even as they worked to solidify Republican majorities through favorable legislative and congressional maps, the memo also cautions Michigan Republicans who draft the districts to be careful of what they say publicly, lest they be accused of gerrymandering.
“Avoid misstatements in public or emails: (Keep it simple, such as ‘We want a FAIR process that follows all the requirements of the law.”), the memo said.
That advice wasn’t always followed, however, as new and previously disclosed emails show. In the most recent filing, one of the map architects, GOP consultant Jeff Timmer was given a map of the redrawn 11th Congressional district by an aide to then-Rep. Thad McCotter with the note “I know you’ll like this one.”