Arizona ‘Independent’ Redistricting Commission Picks Leftist Progressive Firm to Map Arizona Lines

The Arizona ‘Independent’ Redistricting Commission voted today to hand off the task of mapping the new electoral district map to leftist progressive Washington, D.C. based firm called Strategic Telemetry.

The vote was 3-2 with Colleen Mathis, the so-called ‘Independent’ Chairman, voting with the leftist Democrats. (View Colleen Mathis initial application.)

Given Arizona’s latest voter registration data, one would think that the Chairman would have sided with the Republicans on the commission. Republicans currently lead in voter registration with Independents following in second place. Democrats have been left to wallow in third place, third party status.

Nevertheless, the vote went with the leftists on the commission leading some to believe lawyers are already lining up to challenge whatever is crafted by the leftist firm which only works with progressives.

Here’s what we know about Strategic Telemetry based on several web-based sources:

Campaigns & Elections profiled the President of Strategic Telemetry in March with this brief backgrounder:

Predictive Analytics and Microtargeting
Ken Strasma, President, Strategic Telemetry, Inc.

As microtargeting has become an indispensable tool for political campaigns, operatives are learning to harness the power of predictive analytic techniques to analyze and model voters’ attitudes and behavior. Campaigns increasingly deploy these data to identify receptive voters and to devise effective communications and mobilization techniques.

Ken Strasma, president of Strategic Telemetry and the national target director for Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, is a pioneer in the application of high-tech statistical modeling for political campaigns. His Washington, D.C.–based firm, launched in 2003, has led numerous campaigns to victory, including many Democratic campaigns as well as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 2009 re-election campaign.

In February, 2010, Strasma wrote a guest opinion for Campaigns & Elections entitled, “Targeting the Most Unusual Electorate in America.” In that piece he wrote:

“Bloomberg’s decision to switch his party affi liation to independent, and his progressive positions on most issues was what led many Democratic consultants, including my firm, Strategic Telemetry, to support him.”

In another expose about Ken  Strasma that appeared in Fast Company, his bio description reads:

“Ken Strasma, 42, focused on microtargeting as research director of the National Committee for an Effective Congress, a progressive lobbying group. He now heads targeting efforts for Barack Obama’s campaign.”

Strategic Telemetry’s Facebook page gives the company overview as follows:

“Strategic Telemetry provides data analysis, strategic advice and statistical modeling of individual-level voting behavior to progressive organizations and campaigns.”

In a March 1st post on The Daily Kos titled, “Some Wisconsin Democratic senators looking to return, recalls loom” Strategic Telemetry is cited as asserting:

“Further, a micro-targeting firm called Strategic Telemetry, run by President Obama’s 2008 campaign micro-targeter, suggests that there are twice as many Wisconsin residents willing to sign a recall petition against Walker as would be necessary to make such a petition valid.”

The Atlantic also wrote an article about Strasma and his company in February in which it discussed a potential recall effort of Wisconsin Governor, Scott Walker:

“34 percent of Wisconsin voters would sign a petition to recall Walker, according to a survey of 806 voters by Strategic Telemetry, the Democratic polling and microtargeting firm run by Wisconsin native Ken Strasma.”

“One big caveat: Strasma is a Democratic strategist who has done microtargeting for the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and John Kerry. While he told me he conducted this poll on his on initiative (not at the behest of a Democratic client), it’s worth keeping in mind that the poll appears designed for news value.”

and,

“Strasma e-mails to say the GOP senators in his poll are eligible for recall: ‘… the eight GOP senators listed are the ones subject immediate recall. WI has staggered four year State Senate terms, so half of the Senators are up each year. The eight who were first elected or reelected in 2008 are subject to recall at any time. The ones elected in 11/10 would not be subject to recall until 1/12.'”

There is plenty more information available on Strategic Telemetry’s website to document the firm’s involvement in controlling progressive politics in the United States.

I have to imagine that the reason why the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission spent hours in Executive Session today was to battle over the hard reality that a 3rd party ranked Democratic party was about to decide on selecting one of the most leftist leaning redistricting firms in the country and the Republicans on the commission were doing everything in their power to keep that from happening. This information on Strategic Telemetry had to have been available to them and they must have made every effort to smack some sense into Colleen Mathis before she sided with the minorities on the commission.

I would expect the attorneys are already preparing for the legal battle that is certain to ensue and certainly with good cause.

If you haven’t already called your elected officials to complain about this trajectory toward electoral injustice, I urge you to do so quickly.

UPDATE: (July 6, 2011)

On April 20, 2011, the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission interviewed and selected Raymond F. Bladine to the position of Executive Director of the commission. Bladine had previously applied for the position of Chairman of the commission. Here are the minutes to that meeting. What is interesting about the process is that Colleen Mathis, the Chairman, actually made the motion for unanimous approval of Bladine to the position. (This is unusual since Robert’s Rules of Order calls for a member other than the chairman to make nominations.) Here is Bladine’s original IRC application.