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Republican state Sens. Tony Strickland, Mimi Walters, Joel Anderson and Doug LaMalfa are among the first contributors to a signature-gathering campaign aimed at repealing the state's newly drawn Senate districts.

GOP strategist David Gilliard said the drive has about $500,000 in contributions or commitments from business, community and political groups, including the California Republican Party.

Former Gov. Pete Wilson has joined with other GOP leaders in sending out a fundraising appeal that contends the new districts could enable Democrats to gain a two-thirds majority in the Senate.

"Democrats are perilously close to gaining the ability to raise our taxes and expand our already bloated government -- unless we take immediate action," the mailer said.

"The state Senate lines drawn by the California Redistricting Commission virtually guarantee a Democrat super-majority in the California State Senate in 2012. A successful drive to put a referendum on the June 2012 ballot is the best way to prevent this from happening."

State law requires Gilliard's group, Fairness and Accountability in Redistricting, or FAIR, to report contributions of $5,000 or more within 10 days of receipt.

Strickland and Walters have contributed $25,000 apiece, Anderson $10,000, and LaMalfa, $5,000. Other contributors are Patrick Dirk, chief executive officer of the Troy Group, $10,000; Paula and Kent Meehan Trust of Beverly Hills, $10,000; and Barth Family Trust of San Marino, $7,500, state records show.

Strickland and Walters could be harmed by the new Senate districts, which were drawn for the first time this year by a 14-member citizens commission rather than the Legislature.

Strickland, R-Moorpark, has seen his safe Republican seat redrawn as a competitive district in which Democratic Sen. Fran Pavley of Agoura Hills also resides.

Walters, R-Laguna Niguel, was moved into an even-numbered district, meaning that she must relocate to seek a new four-year term next year or leave the Legislature when her current term expires in 2014 and wait two years to run again for a Senate seat.

Gilliard said the drive hopes to begin gathering signatures statewide next week. It must collect 504,760 valid voter signatures to qualify for the June 2012 ballot.


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