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The Process is Political: Texas Redistricting Challenge Ensnares Perry

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Our daily look at the details that can change everything. 

Perry Ensnared in 'Dull but Important' Redistricting Challenge: Latino voting rights groups and Congressional reps worried about losing their seats have sued Gov. Rick Perry and the state of Texas, challenging new district maps drawn up by the legislature. 

“You see these ridiculous shapes," a lawyer for the League of United Latin American Citizens said in federal court on Tuesday, according to Bloomberg. “This is done by people in power to fracture the Latino community."

Perry stands by the new districts. "“The Legislature determined and approved the map, and the governor signed it and believes it went through a fair process," a spokesman told Bloomberg. The shape of Congressional districts in Texas has been a politically fraught issue for years, with impacts reaching far outside the state's borders. 

"This is a classic Dull But Important issue, wrote the Texas Tribune, drawing the connection between redistricting after the 2000 Census to Tom DeLay's eventual rise to Majority Leader in Congress. Now, of course, DeLay is out of office and awaiting appeal of a money laundering conviction. "So some of the generals fell, but the Republican army won the war," the Tribune wrote. (Bloomberg)

GOP Contenders Not Just Coming to California to Debate...: There's also campaign cash to be raised! Texas Gov. Rick Perry will have fundraising stops in San Diego, Los Angeles, Newport Beach, Bakersfield, Fresno, and Palo Alto, reports the Chicago Tribune. Perry is making the trip after cancelling a weekend appearance in South Carolina because of the wildfires burning in his state.

The day after the debate at the Reagan library, Mitt Romney is planning to raise money at a Pasadena luncheon. Newt Gingrich held a public Tea Party Town Hall in the same city on Tuesday, but it was not a fundraiser. Rep. Michele Bachmann had planned to raise money during the west coast swing, but has pushed back private fundraisers until next week so she can return to Washington for President Obama's jobs speech on Thursday, her campaign told the Tribune. (Chicago Tribune)

Regulating 'Independent Spending' in New York City: Want to know who is spending outside money in New York City elections? The city's Campaign Finance Board will vote on proposed rules on Thursday that will govern what the public gets to see, and how it applies to different political entities. A key sticking point is how much the board will regulate unions' communications with their own members. Is that campaign activity, or part of the usual business organization upkeep?

"Our union is our membership and we are only strong when we can communicate with each other, educate each other and come together to act," SEIU 32BJ organizer Robin Firth told a public hearing in March. "Member to member conversations and communications are fundamental to the democratic culture of New York," Firth said, adding that concerned that "burdensome reporting requirements" could damage the democratic process. (New York State is also drawing up disclosure requirements, points out the Corporate Political Activity Law blog.) (NYC Campaign Finance Board)

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