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Eric Holder Targets New Hampshire In Anti-GOP Gerrymandering Push

A progressive group led by former Attorney General–and possible 2020 POTUS contender– Eric Holder announced this weekend it’s targeting the Granite State in its push to “stop or prevent” what it calls “Republican gerrymandering.” This despite the fact that Democrats just took control of both houses of the New Hampshire legislature.

In a post on their website, the National Democratic Re-Districting Committee revealed the map of states they will be targeting in 2019 and 2020 as part of their efforts at what they call re-districting reform.  “During the 2019-2020 election cycle, the NDRC is targeting 12 states, including 3 gubernatorial races, 13 state legislative chambers, and one down-ballot race,” the NDRC says.

One of those governors is New Hampshire Republican Chris Sununu.

In fact, despite claims by Holder that his efforts at the NDRC are non-partisan (“We’ll go after Democrats if they try to gerrymander, too,” he said during a stop at St. Anselm College in June), all three of the governors his group is targeting are Republicans.  All of the legislatures on the NDRC list are controlled by the GOP, too, with the singular exception of Minnesota, where control of the legislature is split.

(from the NDRC website)


“They’re all states where we need to stop or prevent Republican gerrymandering,” the NDRC says.

One of the biggest promoters of Holder’s efforts here in New Hampshire has been Colin Van Ostern, the one-time Democratic campaign worker and gubernatorial candidate who’s now lobbying to replace Secretary of State Bill Gardner.  Having a partisan ally as the chief elections officer in the Granite State would be a boon to Holder and the NDRC.

It’s also likely to raise more questions about the wisdom of having an openly-partisan Secretary of State replace Gardner, who has earned praise from both sides of the aisle for his nonpartisan approach to the job.

Holder in New Hampshire: “Trump Uses Race As A Wedge Issue”

Even before he took the stage at St. Anselm College for the “Politics and Eggs” breakfast event, former Attorney General Eric Holder was sparking controversy on the issue of President Trump and racism.  In a pre-speech interview for Fox News, Holder said that while he wouldn’t call the current president a racist, Trump is using “race as a wedge issue.”

“The president and other members of his administration have tried to use race as a wedge issue to divide the American people, and it is something that I think is reprehensible,” Holder said. “It is inconsistent with who we say we are as a people and it is not what we expect from somebody who is supposed to be the leader of the entire nation.”

During his speech, Holder was asked about the lack of trust between police and communities of color, and he addressed the race issue again–recounting the discomfort he felt when he was pulled over by a police officer in DC’s Georgetown community.

“I was a federal prosecutor. But to this guy, police officer, who was black, I was a potential something,” Holder said. “We need to look at the issue of unconscious bias.”  Holder also claimed that “we [the Obama administration] did a lot to increase trust between the police and these communities,” a claim many would dispute.  According to a Gallup poll, trust in the police fell to a 22-year low in 2015–six years into the Obama presidency–and fell to just 30 percent among black Americans.  In June of last year, trust in the police had returned to its 25-year average.

Holder’s speech focused largely on his work as chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, an effort to overturn what he describes as Republican gerrymandering. Holder insists that, as he told the Daily Show’s Trevor Noah, he is not pushing “Democratic redistricting,” but instead wants a level playing field.

“I wouldn’t have signed up for this if it was an attempt to gerrymander for Democrats,” Holder told the talk host, and he reiterated that message at St. Anselm. “This is a partisan attempt at good government,” Holder said.

But it was in the area of race relations that Holder created the most heat, suggesting that President Trump was in part responsible for Roseanne Barr’s racist tweet about his former Obama administration colleague, Valerie Jarrett:

“This president has given license to people to say and do things that might not have occurred in the immediate past in our country. And, I think that we are going to be dealing with that long after the Trump presidency, trying to get a handle on those kinds of issues, the kind of things that Roseanne said.”

The Politics and Eggs breakfast is a must-stop event on the New Hampshire #FITN speaking circuit. Former Democratic candidate Martin O’Malley made an appearance earlier this year, as have potential candidates Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and conservative commentator Bill Kristol. Holder did little to discourage discussion of a possible 2020 presidential bid in his speech and has repeatedly hinted at a possible run.

Eric Holder for POTUS? “Let’s Do This Thing!”

“Let’s do this thing!”

So said former Attorney General Eric Holder on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show Tuesday night when asked about a presidential run in 2020. Holder was admittedly being flippant, but the former Obama administration official then confirmed to host Trevor Noah that he’s giving the idea of a White House run serious consideration.

Holder made similar comments on MSNBC the same night: “I’m thinking about it, but I’ve not made any determinations. I’m focusing on the work I’m doing with the National Democratic Redistricting Committee and trying to deal with gerrymandering.”

Holder may not have made any determinations, but he has made some concrete plans to come to New Hampshire and speak at “Politics and Eggs,” hosted by the St. Anselm College Institute of Politics and the New England Council, on Friday June 1st.  This event is a mandatory stop on the New Hampshire #FITN political circuit, and the 2018 list of attendees already includes Sen. Jeff Flake, former Gov. Martin O’Malley and Weekly Standard founder Bill Kristol (scheduled for next month).

What sets Eric Holder apart is his openness about his intentions. “Julian Castro did the same thing–and I think that’s smart,” St. Anselm IOP’s Executive Director Neal Levesque told  Castro hasn’t appeared at a Politics and Eggs event (yet), but he did visit the St. Anselm campus and speak to students in February.

“Everybody knows why people like Eric Holder are up here,” Levesque says. “It’s not like they’re coming to New Hampshire just for breakfast.”