Andrew Gillum Raids Campaign Funds to Pay $440K for Defense Lawyers

Andrew Gillum’s political action committee (PAC) from his failed bid for Florida governor recently paid his Miami lawyers $440,181, according to reports filed with the Division of Elections.

Gillum was indicted in June on multiple charges connected to campaign contribution fraud before and during his 2018 run for governor of Florida. The 21 count indictment includes conspiracy charges, wire fraud and making false statements.

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Moving on to Congressional Maps, Virginia Redistricting Commission Still Haunted by Questions About Fairness

The Virginia Redistricting Commission has moved on to full consideration of the congressional map without making any decisions about the General Assembly maps and using a two-week extension period. In advance of a meeting Thursday, the co-chairs had asked the Republican map-drawing team to draft a proposal for the Republican-voting southwest region of Virginia, and the Democratic team to draw a proposal for Democratic-voting northern Virginia, while both map drawers roughly followed the existing court-drawn districts three and four. Those districts have the most significant minority voter populations, which require extra protection by law.

Debate over the preliminary proposals again focused how to protect minority voters, but by the end of the meeting, there seemed to be a shaky consensus to leave district three and four mostly intact, with support from both Democratic and Republican legal teams. The commission returned to the question of what fair maps are: do they reflect Virginia’s blue-leaning voter base, or do they give an even split to each party? How important is compactness versus regional identity?

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State Senator Bill Stanley Joins Virginia Redistricting Commission, Commission Discusses Use of Incumbent Addresses, and Barker Proposes Map That Protects His Seat

Senator Bill Stanley (R-Franklin) is the newest addition to the Virginia Redistricting Commission. His predecessor Senator Stephen Newman (R-Bedford) resigned after the commission’s busy schedule for the next two months was announced.

“I know he put a lot of effort, time, and passion into this commission. He resigned shortly after we released our wonderful meetings. So I don’t know if [Co-Chair Greta Harris (D)] and I scared him away or what,” Co-Chair Mackenzie Babichenko (R) joked.

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Virginia Redistricting Commission Votes to Start with Blank Maps

The Virginia Redistricting Commission voted Monday to start with blank, new maps. Some legislators proposed an alternate proposal to draw two sets of maps, one based off current maps, and one from a blank slate, but that motion was defeated.

Citizen Commissioner Sean Kumar (D) introduced the initial motion for blank maps, noting that in public comment, most of the public has expressed a desire for new maps, and that both parties have an interest in protecting the incumbents.

Barker introduced the substitute plan to draw the two sets of maps, and Senator Steve Newman (R-Bedford) seconded it.

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