Trump pick to lead 2020 census pulls name from consideration: report
President Trump’s pick to oversee the 2020 census has pulled his name from consideration for the job, Mother Jones reported Monday.
Thomas Brunell, a political science professor who advocated for Republican redistricting in several states, has withdrawn from being considered as deputy director of the U.S. Census Bureau.
Brunell did not immediately respond to Mother Jones’s requests for comment.
A Commerce Department spokesman confirmed to The Hill that Brunell is not under consideration for the position.
Politico first reported in November that Trump had tapped Brunell for the job. He is a registered Republican and argued in a 2008 book that more partisan districts create better representation for voters than competitive ones, according to Mother Jones.
He was also hired by GOP lawmakers to defend state legislature-drawn maps in states like North Carolina where congressional maps have been struck down by federal judges.
Senate Democrats had blasted Brunell’s reported nomination, with Sens. Cory Booker (N.J.) and Brian Schatz (Hawaii) calling him “deeply unqualified.”
“The person charged with operational oversight of the governmental undertaking responsible for apportionment in our government’s highest legislative body should be committed to fair and accurate representation for all Americans,” they wrote in a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross last month. “Dr. Thomas Brunell is not that person.”
Brunell’s withdrawal comes as the Census Bureau faces a number of hurdles ahead of the upcoming survey. The bureau currently lacks an acting director and the Government Accountability Office deemed it a “high risk” program in a report last year.
Updated at 4:34 p.m.
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