There’s a hundred-million-dollar battle brewing for control of Congress, but it’s not going to be resolved for seven more years, and the battles will take place in lands far away from Washington. Both Democrats and Republicans think controlling state legislatures in 2020 is one of the most important political battles to fight, mostly for one reason: The power of the pen — the kind that draws district lines, that is. Five years out, both sides are in a fundraising battle to build war chests of $70 million to $125 million to swing state legislatures their way by 2020, when new electoral maps will get drawn across the country. The Republican State Leadership Committee announced Thursday it’s launching RedMap 2020 and aiming to invest $125 million to expand their majority in the statehouses and redraw the nation’s electoral lines.
They’re playing the long game, but as Republicans showed in 2010, investing in state races is one of the best bangs-for-your-buck to swing Washington the way you want it.
“The implications of the state-level races reach all the way up to the U.S. Capitol,” said Matt Walter, the president of the RSLC, which works to keep Republicans in state legislatures.
Redistricting has always been important to the political process, but in an age in which Americans are increasingly polarized — and technology allows for even-more-effective gerrymandering — the shapes and demographics of the districts that are drawn is even more decisive when it comes to control of Congress.