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The Hill: National GOP mapmaker dies in Raleigh after battle with cancer

The father of unconstitutionally gerrymandered maps in North Carolina has died.

Tom Hofeller, 75, died Thursday at his adopted home in Raleigh after a long battle with cancer, one of his close friends told The Hill newspaper.

For more than four decades, when Republicans needed strategic advice drawing political boundaries, the party turned to a small cadre of expert cartographers, trained in the rare art of redistricting. At the heart of that group was Tom Hofeller.

A mild-mannered California native who rarely allowed himself to be quoted in the media, Hofeller may be more responsible for the Republican majority in Congress than any other single person in modern politics.

He is one of only a handful of people who helped create the modern redistricting process, first by crafting district lines meant to overcome decades of Democratic advantages and then by tilting the field in favor of Republicans in later years.

As both parties became more aware of the importance of drawing district lines, and more litigious when the lines were not drawn in their favor, Hofeller began consulting Republicans in charge of drawing maps in their states, urging caution and pragmatism in preparation for an inevitable court challenge.

Hofeller is responsible for drawing the gerrymandered North Carolina maps in 2011 and redrawing them last year after top Republicans re-hired him. Those same lawmakers haven’t commented publicly on his passing, but General Assembly special counsel Brent Woodcox called Hofeller a gentleman and a mentor on Twitter.

Several people commented on Twitter about Hofeller’s passing and the influence he had over elections through mapmaking.

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