The Buzz

On a mission to pick up congressional seats, Democrats target Missouri

Democrats want control of the U.S. House again, and they’ve launched a plan aimed at doing just that by early in the next decade.

The party is seeking to raise millions of dollars to target governor’s races in states where Democratic chief executives can make a difference in the redistricting process. Redistricting occurs every 10 years following the once-a-decade national census.

In Missouri, that could mean millions more to elect Democrat Chris Koster to the governor’s office in 2016. Koster is expected to coast to the Democratic nomination and ranks as the front-runner to win in November.

Republicans hold huge advantages in the General Assembly and are expected to maintain those majorities for years to come. That gives the party a leg up in the process of drawing new congressional maps based on population shifts.

A Democratic governor in a state like Missouri can veto those maps, forcing a court to redraw the lines. That gives Democrats a better chance at more competitive districts.

The Democratic Governors Association is initially targeting 18 states that the party thinks has the potential of boosting Democratic House totals by 44. Republicans hold a 246-188 edge now.

Missouri is targeted as a one-seat potential pickup for the Democrats. The state’s U.S. House delegation is now split 6-2 in favor of the Republicans, and Democrats have long insisted that they should be better represented in the state.

The Democrats did not say which Missouri seat they would target.

“Governors play a critical role in the redistricting process,” Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in a statement. “The DGA’s ‘Unrig The Map’ effort is about ensuring more Democratic governors can be at the table in 2020 to prevent the kind of far-right gerrymandering we saw in 2010.”

McAuliffe, who will oversee the fund-raising effort, is an ally of Hillary Clinton who could eventually benefit from a Democratic House majority.