Louisiana GOP Reveals Private Consultant's Involvement in Crafting Political Maps Amid Court Dispute
Louisiana Republican Party officials disclosed on Saturday that a private political consultant played a role in shaping the state's new political maps last year, leading to federal court disputes. However, the consultant, John Couvillon of JMC Analytics, has insisted that he did not personally draw the contentious districts in question.
Louisiana Republican Party chairman, Louis Gurvich, informed fellow state party members that John Couvillon "largely did the legislative redistricting" in 2022. Yet, shortly after Gurvich's statement, Couvillon took to Twitter to refute the claim. He clarified that JMC Analytics did not draw any of the political maps approved by the Louisiana Legislature, emphasizing that the maps were drawn by the legislature itself through the vetting and legislative process.
Last year, concerns arose over who provided advice to Republican leaders in the legislature regarding political maps for both Congress and state government. While lawmakers have in-house staff responsible for drawing the political lines, the extent of private consultants' involvement remains unclear. John Couvillon's name was raised as someone who might have advised Republicans in this regard.
Notably, legislative leaders hired a Republican-affiliated law firm for political redistricting without initially disclosing it to Democrats or rank-and-file GOP legislators. Moreover, they declined to disclose details about other outside contractors who worked on the maps.
Many of the political districts under scrutiny are currently subject to litigation. A recent court ruling is likely to necessitate Louisiana adopting a new congressional map that includes an additional majority-Black seat. Furthermore, changes are being considered for the state legislative maps, prompting further examination of private consultants' contributions during these legal battles.
Gena Gore, a state GOP executive committee member, also affirmed that Couvillon assisted in drawing the state's new political maps during her address to the Republican State Central Committee on Saturday.
However, Rep. John Stefanski, R-Crowley, supported Couvillon's statement, asserting that legislators, with the help of their staff, were responsible for drafting the state's political maps. Stefanski, who is running for state attorney general, played a leading role in political redistricting for the Louisiana House of Representatives.