California voters may feel besieged by the host of campaign wars being waged over next month’s state ballot measures, but the battle over Proposition 40 stopped before it ever started. The measure is a referendum asking voters whether or not they want to keep newly drawn state Senate districts established by an independent remapping commission, which also happens to put Republicans at risk of losing seats.
After spending $2 million to get the proposition on the ballot in the hopes of eliminating the new districts, Republican lawmakers and activists dropped their campaign supporting the referendum following a January state Supreme Court ruling that validated the redrawn districts.
In the official 2012 state ballot pamphlet, Julie Vandermost, chairwoman of Fairness and Accountability in Redistricting (FAIR), which had called for the referendum, wrote “Due to the State Supreme Court's ruling … we have suspended our campaign and no longer seek a NO vote.”
The California Republican Party, which helped pay to put the measure on the ballot, is also telling voters to disregard the organization's original campaign and vote to keep the new maps.
Bob Stern, the former President of the Center for Governmental Studies, a group based in LA, tells us that even though the Republicans originally wanted to reject the redistricting plan, since they have withdrawn their support, “everybody is saying vote yes. There is nobody against this proposition.”
So why did the Republicans withdraw their support? Stern says that since the Supreme Court ruled that the new district lines would be kept anyway, the Republicans “wanted to spend their money on other things.”
Bob Stern, the former President of the Center for Governmental Studies, a group based in LA, that studied redistricting among other governmental process issues