By Mitch Kokai
Complaints on social media from a left-wing redistricting activist are drawing fire from a state Senate redistricting leader. He accuses the activist of “begging” people to deliver her scripted remarks during public hearings.
House and Senate redistricting committees scheduled 13 hearings from the mountains to the coast this month, including six this week. Those hearings are designed to help lawmakers as they draft new maps for state House, Senate, and congressional elections.
“Eric Holder’s group is ‘begging’ the public to parrot their canned talking points,” reads the headline of a news release from Sen. Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell. Hise co-chairs the Senate committee that will draw new state election maps.
Holder is a former U.S. attorney general from the Obama administration. He leads national efforts to steer redistricting toward Democratic Party goals. One of the groups tied to Holder’s efforts is called All On The Line.
The group “has been hosting training sessions to plant public commenters at redistricting hearings,” according to Hise’s release. “Their goal, in their own words, is to get comments into the record because they can ‘be impactful during any future litigation.'”
Hise follows up on the words “future litigation.”
“Think about that: In preparation for Eric Holder’s redistricting lawsuit, he’s funding training sessions to get plants to deliver public comments that he thinks will help him win,” said Hise in the release. “He’s sandbagging the process as part of a legal strategy.”
“But their efforts to game the system don’t appear to be going very well.”
The senator points to a Tuesday, Sept. 14, Twitter thread from Lekha Shupeck, All On The Line’s state director. “Holder’s state director complained on Twitter that public commenters are saying all the wrong things: ‘I am concerned that people are not making effective comments at public hearings.'”
“She implored more people (‘please! I’m begging you!’) to follow her trainings so Holder’s plants can ‘be using those opportunities in a way that is effective not just now but over the long term. And that means making a very different kind of public comment than the vast majority of people are making at these hearings,'” Hise’s release continued.
“Here’s an idea: Stop trying to sandbag the process,” Hise said. “Let people say what they wish.”
The senator ends the release with a reminder that Holder’s “self-professed goal” is to “favorably position Democrats for the redistricting process.”
Lawmakers will conduct hearings in Cullowhee and Charlotte next week.