California began circulating a new referendum petition on Thursday that could boost Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's political strength by redrawing the political map to boost candidates who share his centrist political views.
The former Hollywood superstar, himself elected after a petition campaign ousted his Democratic predecessor, has criticized California's existing political boundaries. He backs stripping the state legislature of its power to redraw legislative and congressional districts and wants a panel of judges to redraw them.
Politics in the most populous U.S. state are dominated by a majority of liberal Democrats and a minority of conservative Republicans. Democrats hold a commanding majority in the state legislature, and analysts say California is mostly divided into safe Democratic and Republican districts, giving moderates from both parties less of a chance....
Republicans in Texas forced through a redistricting plan in that state in 2003 aimed at picking up six or seven U.S. House of Representatives seats for the party....
One sponsor of the measure is conservative populist Ted Cost, an activist who was behind the recall of Democratic Gov. Gray Davis -- which paved the way for Schwarzenegger's ascent to the statehouse.
Schwarzenegger said last week that he would personally work to gather signatures as early as later this month.
"You will see me at different shopping malls. I will be out there gathering the signatures and helping to make sure they get all of those things on the ballot," he said. "This is the year where we have to turn California around."
He will work to change California to a red state.