When it comes to redistricting, $2.7 million may trump $280,000.

The $2.7 million is what Charles Munger, a Palo Alto Republican, has anted up to qualify a “Son of Prop. 11” redistricting measure for the November ballot.

The initiative is simple enough. It allows the Citizens Redistricting Commission created by the 2008 initiative to also draw the lines for California’s congressional districts after this year’s census.

The $280,000, on the other hand, is what Democratic politicians and their allies have put aside for a November initiative that would kill Prop. 11 entirely, putting redistricting back in the hands of the Democrat-run Legislature.

Most of that money comes from California Democrats who are either in Congress or who want to be in Congress – that would be Karen Bass, who has given $50,000 to the initiative. But under Prop. 11, only legislative districts will be redrawn by the committee. Munger’s measure, though, would take redistricting out of the comforting hands of the Legislature and give it to a multi-partisan commission that won’t care nearly so much about putting more California Democrats in Congress.

So what do those congressional Democrats do? Put their faith and their cash in the Fiscal Accountability in Redistricting Act – FAIR, get it? – in the hope of saving their friends in the Legislature? Or put big bucks directly into a “No” campaign against Munger’s initiative, which is aimed right at their own seats?

Expect Democratic leaders like former state Sen. John Burton to argue that it would be better to use a big stick on Prop. 11 and end the reform effort completely, rather than go one-on-one with the new initiative.

But even if the Democrats’ anti-reform measure passes, it will have to collect more votes than Munger’s initiative if it’s going to take effect. Which leaves the question of what’s more important to congressional Democrats: eliminating Prop. 11 or spiking Munger’s effort?

While the past is no any guarantee of the future, it can be suggestive. Congressional redistricting was left out of Prop. 11 in the first place because California Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Zoe Lofgren threatened to raise millions to fight the initiative if Congress was included.

When the good government groups that wrote the initiative backed away from that fight, the congressional Democrats also walked away, content to leave their legislative brethren to deal with the prospect of a non-partisan redistricting plan.

On Tuesday, Munger’s group announced it was turning in 1.2 million signatures, more than enough to qualify the initiative for the ballot. The son of billionaire investor Charles T. Munger, Munger put more than $1.3 million into the Prop. 11 campaign and $120,000 into Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 2005 reapportionment effort, so he’s no stranger to the redistricting wars.

Any ballot attack on Prop. 11 will be an uphill battle. Although it passed with only about 51 percent of the vote, that November 2008 election had Barack Obama at the top of the ballot in what was a great year for Democrats. While Democrats can complain that Prop. 11’s redistricting reform is “an expensive experiment gone wrong,” it’s even easier to argue that it hasn’t even been tried yet.

There’s a whiff of sour grapes coming from the opponents of Prop. 11, combined with the odor of political opportunism. California Democrats have made it clear for years that they see the coming reapportionment as a chance to add to their political clout and are convinced that nothing good can come from a redistricting effort specifically designed to be non-partisan.

Steve Maviglio, a consultant who has worked closely over the years with the Democratic leadership, argued in the Sacramento Bee that it’s time “to scrap this costly system that is paved with good intentions but fraught with problems and start again.”

To “start again” would put legislators back in the business of drawing their own district lines, exactly the opposite of what the voters in 2008 said they wanted. It also would guarantee that any redistricting reforms would be delayed for at least another 10 years.

Anyone want to bet that whatever party is running the Legislature in 2020 will have a whole new bunch of arguments for keeping themselves in the redistricting game?

John Wildermuth is a longtime writer on California politics.