Obama-Backed, Holder-Led Group Raised More Than $11 Million in 2017; Will Target Republicans in 12 states

Holder says the group has a goal of raising $30 million this year

Eric Holder / Getty Images
February 11, 2018

A redistricting group that is backed by former President Barack Obama and led by former attorney general Eric Holder raised more than $11 million last year and has set a new fundraising goal of $30 million to help their upcoming efforts to target Republicans in 12 states.

The National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC), a D.C.-based organization founded in 2016 that is chaired by Holder, is dedicated to "enacting a comprehensive, multi-cycle Democratic Party redistricting strategy."

The group was formed in part due to Obama's resentment towards the House Republican majority during a portion of his presidency and claims that gerrymandering, which both parties partake in, has led to "disastrous" policies.

"These gerrymandered districts have had disastrous policy consequences, leading to some of the most right-wing legislation in decades both in Congress and at the state level, including assaults on women's health, suppressing the vote for people of color, failing to address climate change, and refusing to stand up to the epidemic of gun violence," the group's website states. "These policies don't reflect the majority of voters, but because Republicans have rigged the system in their favor, voters are limited in their ability to do anything about it."

NDRC reports raising a total of $11 million last year spread between its numerous entities that include the NDRC, the National Redistricting Foundation, and the National Redistricting Action Fund. Holder said the group has a goal of raising $30 million in 2018.

The NDRC, which first became politically active by pouring more than $1 million into Virginia's gubernatorial race last year to back Democrat Ralph Northam, now Virginia's governor, has set their sights on Republicans and initiatives in 12 states.

The target list was released this week by NDRC and identifies Republican governors, legislators, and ballot initiatives in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin as their main focus.

The group also added eight states to their "watch list" including Arizona, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah.

The NDRC did not return a request for comment on their 2018 plans by press time.

Before leaving the White House, President Obama held a strategy meeting that was attended by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.), Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), and former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D.) where the group had identified breaking up Republican controlled areas as a top priority.

Holder said the group's mission is personal to Obama because he resented how Republicans took over the majority in the House of Representatives and impaired his goals.

"The tasks that he had placed before him were made a lot more difficult, progress a lot more difficult, than it needed to be," Holder told the New York Times last year. "That's because of the Congress that he had to deal with, which was a function of the 2010 redistricting effort."

Marc Elias, a partner at the D.C. office of the Perkins Coie law firm, who served as Hillary Clinton's top campaign lawyer, is the NDRC's senior adviser and general counsel.

Kelly Ward, the former executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), is now the executive director of the NDRC.

Elisabeth Pearson, the executive director of the Democratic Governors Association (DGA), sits on the group's board of directors.

Jessica Post, the executive director of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC); Ali Lapp, the president of the Pelosi-tied House Majority PAC; and Greg Speed, the president of America Votes Action Fund, round out the group's board.

Published under: Barack Obama , Eric Holder