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Former Gov. Pete Wilson joins effort to upset redistricting plan

August 24, 2011 | 12:43 pm

Former Gov. Pete Wilson has joined efforts to overturn new district boundaries for the state Senate, saying they would increase Democrat control of the Legislature and result in higher taxes for Californians.

Wilson and other GOP leaders have sent out a fundraising appeal to help finance a referendum drive that would give the state’s voters a chance to repeal the maps drawn by a Citizens Redistricting Commission. The GOP leaders say in a five-page memo to several thousand potential donors that the new districts could help give Democrats a two-thirds majority in the Senate.

"Democrats are perilously close to gaining the ability to raise our taxes and expanded our already bloated government -- unless we take immediate action," said the mailer from Wilson, California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro and Senate Republican Leader Bob Dutton of Rancho Cucamonga.

"The state Senate lines drawn by the California Redistricting Commission virtually guarantee a Democrat Super-majority in the California State Senate in 2012," the mailer added. "A successful drive to put a referendum on the June 2012 ballot is the best way to prevent this from happening."

The group Fairness & Accountability in Redistricting has raised about $500,000 toward its goal of $2.5 million to pay for the signature drive kicking off next week, said David Gilliard, the political consultant in charge. The group must collect more than 504,000 signatures in 90 days to qualify the referendum.

Once the measure qualifies, it will cost about $15 million to run an effective campaign to convince voters to reject the new district maps, Gilliard estimated.

-- Patrick McGreevy

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