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Published: Friday, February 09, 2018 @ 12:05 AM
Updated: Friday, February 09, 2018 @ 12:04 AM
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A Democratic group backed by former President Barack Obama said this week it plans to invest millions of dollars in state-level elections in 11 states this year, with its heaviest focus on Ohio.
The National Democratic Redistricting Committee, led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, said this year's election cycle is critical to affecting the congressional redistricting process. It is the first cycle whose winners will participate in drawing congressional maps for the decade starting in 2021.
The push comes amid bipartisan national concern that political gerrymandering, the process of drawing maps that benefit one party over another, has led to partisanship, gridlock and incivility in Washington.
"In 2011, Republicans created gerrymandered districts that locked themselves into power and shut out voters from the electoral process," Holder said in announcing the group's electoral targets on Wednesday. "By focusing on these state and local races, we can ensure Democrats who will fight for fairness have a seat at the table when new maps are drawn in 2021."
The group is targeting races in 11 states, including nine gubernatorial races, 18 legislative chambers, two ballot initiatives and two down-ballot races. Eight more states are on the committee's watch list.
In Ohio, a perennial political battleground, the committee plans to support Democrats for five offices — governor, auditor, secretary of state, Ohio Senate and Ohio House — as well as pushing a redistricting ballot measure.
Other target races include:
— Colorado: Governor, state Senate
— Florida: Governor, state Senate
— Georgia: Governor, state Senate
— Michigan: Governor, state Senate, state House, ballot initiative
— Minnesota: Governor, state Senate, state House
— Nevada: Governor, state Senate, state House
— North Carolina: State Senate, state House
— Pennsylvania: Governor, state Senate, state House
— Texas: State Senate, state House
— Wisconsin: Governor, state Senate
The group also participated in the Virginia House last year, and has targeted both its House and Senate in 2019.
On its watch list are ballot initiatives in Arizona, Missouri, South Dakota and Utah; the governor's and state Senate races in Maine; and the governor's, state Senate and state House races in New Hampshire.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, also has been championing redistricting reforms, including working with fellow Republican, movie star and ex-California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Terminate Gerrymandering Crowdpac.
Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 5:20 PM
PITTSBURGH, Penn. — Pittsburgh police are searching for a thief who held up a bank wearing a woman’s dress, a purple scarf and hat and sunglasses.
Police say the thief robbed a local bank Thursday morning around 10:30 and made off with an undisclosed amount of cash.
Authorities are asking for the public’s help in finding the suspected thief.
They’re asking anyone with information to call the FBI.
Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 5:35 PM
BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. — The school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has resigned, according to Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.[View the story "Stoneman Douglas resource officer resigns after investigation" on Storify]
Follow along with our live updates as we learn more
Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 12:07 PM
— Olive Garden has added a pizza to its menu -- sort of.
Delish reported the Meatball Pizza Bowl is part of a new Lunch Duos menu, which offers an entree and unlimited soup or salad. The bowl, which is made of pizza dough, has similar toppings to the restaurant’s famous breadsticks. It has three cheeses -- Parmesan, mozzarella and Asiago, according to USA Today.
The Meatball Pizza Bowl is available for lunch Monday through Friday before 3 p.m.
Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 1:33 PM
— National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre took the opportunity to slam Democrats Thursday during a speech at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference meeting, saying they only “want more restrictions on the law-abiding.”
"They want to sweep right under the carpet the failure of school security,” LaPierre said, a week after 17 people were killed in a school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
LaPierre told the audience that the NRA stood ready to provide guidance to schools free of charge on how to protect students. He took another dig at the Democrats and one at the news media saying what the NRA offered was “more” than anyone else has.
"We share a goal of safe schools, safe neighborhoods and a safe country," LaPierre said.
Later he told the crowd gathered at the annual meeting for conservatives that, "Evil walks among us” when speaking about school shootings.
Just minutes before LaPierre spoke, President Donald Trump tweeted that he supports the NRA and the work LaPierre is doing.
"What many people don't understand, or don't want to understand, is that Wayne, Chris and the folks who work so hard at the @NRA are Great People and Great American Patriots. They love our Country and will do the right thing. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!"
Who is Wayne LaPierre? Here are a few things you may not know about him.