An initiative backed by former president Barack Obama to end Republican control of legislative maps by targeting state-level contests has raised more than $10.8 million this year.
On Monday, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee announced its fundraising haul through the end of July as it geared up to spend on gubernatorial and state legislative campaigns ahead of the 2020 redistricting cycle, when states will draw new maps for congressional and state legislative districts.
Democrats see these efforts as crucial to rebuilding the party. The NDRC, which is chaired by former U.S. attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr., is debuting its campaign efforts by supporting Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) for governor of the commonwealth this November against Ed Gillespie, the former Republican National Committee chairman.
The NDRC has yet to directly donate to Northam’s campaign, but Holder headlined a June fundraiser for the Democratic Party of Virginia.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Holder and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe were among the high-profile Democratic leaders raising money for the redistricting initiative, meeting donors in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, New York and the District. Obama headlined a fundraiser in the District for NDRC in July, marking his formal return to the political fray six months out of office.
The NDRC released a portion of its donor list to the Internal Revenue Service on Monday, disclosing the source of more than $2.5 million donated to its 527 political organization. Financial disclosures for other entities, including political nonprofit groups and a federal political action committee, are due later.
Democratic Party mega-donors Fred Eychaner and Donald Sussman each gave $500,000, while Jon Stryker donated $200,000 and Martha Samuelson gave $175,000. Movie director J.J. Abrams and his wife, Katie McGrath, each donated $125,000.
“The NDRC’s significant fundraising in its first six months will allow us to take on gerrymandering and reform our electoral system,” Holder said in a statement.
The redistricting committee is also funding legal challenges to district lines drawn by Republicans and plans to support ballot measures to establish independent commissions to draw legislative maps.