“Republican Gerrymander Whiz Had Wider Influence Than Was Known”

NYT:

But files from the Hofeller backups recently made available to The New York Times offer a much broader view of Mr. Hofeller’s partisan work. The New Yorker reported on the contents of the Hofeller files in an article published on Friday.


Among the highlights from the files obtained by The Times:


Mr. Hofeller played a crucial role in drawing partisan maps nationwide in 2011.


After the Republican Party’s sweep of 2010 elections, documents from his computer files show, Mr. Hofeller and a business partner, Dale L. Oldham, helped draft political maps in an array of states, from G.O.P. strongholds like Texas and Alabama to states trending Republican like West Virginia to swing states like Florida.


The documents indicate Mr. Hofeller advised Republicans on the boundaries of new congressional maps in Florida in 2011, even though voters had mandated nonpartisan maps for all political offices in an amendment to the State Constitution the previous year. State courts later nullified those congressional maps as a violation of the constitutional requirement.

Mr. Hofeller’s files are virtually devoid of any paper trail documenting his agenda, but his 2011 efforts to draft congressional maps in Texas offered a rare exception.


It was a Saturday in June, and very late on a Saturday at that. But Mr. Hofeller was still at his computer, mining mounds of Texas demographic data.

“I can give you about .8 percent increase in SSVR within Austin only,” Mr. Hofeller wrote in an email, using an abbreviation that denotes residents with Spanish surnames. With a few keystrokes, Mr. Hofeller apparently was shuttling 30,000 mostly Hispanic residents from a Republican district west of Austin into a Democratic one.


“Every .8 helps at this point,” his fellow strategist, Mr. Oldham, replied.
The map the two men produced at about 7 a.m. the next morning was ungainly, Mr. Oldham wrote. But it did the job, sending fingers from three neighboring Republican districts deep into Austin and giving the party a lock on all but one of the House seats in heavily Democratic Travis County.

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