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3P, political idealism, and that Washington was so “universally dis liked” that Blum found much support for his quixotic campaign. “I spent a year of my life and a hundred thousand dollars of my own money, knowing that if I had won that election it would have been the show-stopper Congressional election of the decade: ‘White Jewish conservative defeats black liberal incumbent in wildly Democratic district.’ You’ve got to have a big streak of idealism to do that.” Idealism was not quite enough; Washington defeated Blum handily, although Blum’s thirty-three percent vote in the district was significantly better than George Bush’s twenty-two. \(In the 1994 Congressional election, Washington was defeated by another African-American candidate, Houston city councilwoman Blum says it was also his idealism, and that of six other Texas Republicans, that motivated the lawsuit against Texas districts. Following the 1993 Supreme Court decision in Shaw v. Reno, which rejected North Carolina’s majority-minority districts because of their “bizarre” shape, Blum brought together potential plaintiffs for a Texas challenge. Initially, he says, he asked William Bradford Reynolds, formerly of the Reagan Justice Department, to take their case, but when Reynolds asked for a two hundred thousand dollar the plaintiffs decided to follow the “civil rights model” and try to recruit like-minded attorneys to work pro bono. Shaw had been argued by Duke University law professor Robinson Everett; similar challenges in Louisiana and Florida were represented by Louisiana attorney Paul Hurd. Blum soon recruited these lawyers, as well as Houstonians Ted Hirtz, Doug Markham, and others, to volunteer most of their time and expenses in the expectation that should they win, their fees would be paid by the governmental defendants. That, says Blum, is what he meant when he told a reporter that the Cam -paign was willing to invest “a million to a million-and-a-half dollars” in any of the lawsuits in which it has chosen to take part. “The question came, ‘how much did these lawsuits cost?’ OKthe lawsuits, every congressional redistricting lawsuit I know of, argued through the Supreme Court has cost the state…well over a million dollars. So what I said was, ‘those lawsuits typically cost a million, million and a half dollars.’ Everybody reads this and thinks, ‘Adolphus Coors and all the right-wing cranks have sent millions of dollars to defeat these districts.’ That’s not true, that’s not at all the case. We have been able to raise twenty-five to thirty thousand dollars. That’s all public information: legal fees, travel expenses, some of these outstanding bills. All [the cases] have been argued pro bono and contingency.” Blum says the group’s expenses have largely been confined to smaller, short-term matterscosts directly out of pocket like document duplication or traveland that he has generally paid them himself. “We have spent a little bit of money. It wouldn’t buy you a new car.” As a formal organization, the Campaign for A Color-Blind America was a created as consequence of the victory in Vera v. Richards. In response to nationwide inquiries and requests for help, Blum says, the group was incorporated as a non-profit legal foundation, and has provided networking for legal assistance and information to groups across the country, from New York to Hawaii. He and his wife Lark Blum run the organization out of A Senator Rodney Ellis File Photo their Houston home, primarily by recruiting lawyers and expert witnesses to share information and assistance to groups challenging voting districts. The Campaign’s board of directors includes several of the attorneys active in current cases nationwide, as well as such well-known Republican partisans as Linda Chavez, Director of the Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission in the Reagan Administration, and Paul Weyrich of the right-wing Free Congress Foundation and National Empowerment Television. But Blum insists the Campaign is non-partisan and has angered Republican politicians as often as Democratic ones. He describes both political parties’ attitudes on the issue of redistricting as “cynical and disingenuous. Racial gerrymandering was the very bright idea of some strategists at the Republican National Committee… the theory is, ‘Let’s create as many minority districts throughout the south as possible, let’s pack them in, let’s go to the Congressional Black Caucus, the NAACP…we’ll go to the Justice Department and find a way to do that.’ The great champion of racial gerrymandering was the Bush Justice Department; the RNC conceived it, the Bush Justice Department bought into it, and the Bush Justice Department champi 12 THE TEXAS OBSERVER JULY 12, 1996 -0,