New congressional redistricting map puts Boebert in redrawn CD2 with Neguse
Glenwood Springs, Carbondale would stay in CD3 with Pitkin and Eagle counties
DENVER (AP) — Colorado’s nonpartisan redistricting commission has proposed a congressional map that would lump conservative firebrand Rep. Lauren Boebert of Rifle into a Boulder-based, solidly Democratic seat currently held by liberal Rep. Joe Neguse.
The proposal also would create a new swing seat in the northern Denver suburbs.
The commission staff proposal came Friday. It would rearrange the political geography as part of the once-a-decade redistricting process. It’s the first test of the nonpartisan commission model approved by voters in 2018.
Staff had released a possible congressional map in June that kept the Western Slope together in the 3rd District, but Friday’s was its first drawn off the official, newly released Census data that is required to be used for redistricting.
The map will be followed by a series of hearings, along with a map of state legislative districts. Both may change significantly in the weeks to come, as the commission races to meet an end-of-the-month deadline to approve maps.
The congressional map keeps the four Democratic seats relatively safe, as well as preserving three as solidly Republican. It would add a new swing seat running from Adams County to Greeley that voted Democratic by 1.9 percentage points in last year’s Senate election.
That could make the final breakdown of the state’s congressional districts 4-4, an underwhelming split for Democrats in a state they won by 13 points in last year’s presidential election.
Still, Democrats see the map as an improvement over the initial map, which had a similar partisan division. This one splits the conservative western slope into two separate districts. Grand Junction and below stay in the 3rd congressional district, now stretching out to the southeastern plains, Pueblo and Huerfano County. Boebert, a Republican, represents that district, but her home in Garfield County would now go into a northern district stretching to the Wyoming border with most of its population in the liberal bastions of Boulder and Fort Collins.
“The new process is designed to gather public comment to improve upon the preliminary plan and, at first blush, this map seems to have moved in that direction,” said Curtis Hubbard, a Democratic strategist.
Boebert has the option to move south back into her district or even run for her seat there from her home next door if she didn’t want to face the liberal voters of the new district.
Republicans were steamed at how the proposal divides rural Colorado, but acknowledged that, from a partisan position, they are in decent shape.
“As a Coloradan, I hate the map,” said former State Sen. Greg Brophy, who lives in Wray. “As a Republican, it could be a lot worse.”
Closer to home, the new draft map also splits Garfield County. Glenwood Springs and Carbondale would remain in the 3rd Congressional District with Eagle and Pitkin counties. The remainder of Garfield County would be in CD2 along with Rio Blanco, Moffat, Routt, Jackson, Grand, Summit, Boulder and Larimer counties.
Garfield County commissioners weighed in earlier this summer requesting that the redistricting commission keep two distinctly rural congressional districts on the Western Slope and the Eastern Plains. They also objected to the separate state legislative redistricting commission’s map that removed local state Rep. Perry Will of New Castle from Colorado House District 57, which he currently represents.
The Colorado Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission will hold virtual public hearings Tuesday through Friday. Individuals must sign up in advance to testify. These hearings will be the final opportunity for members of the public to speak to the redistricting commissions, according to a Friday news release from the redistricting commission.
Written public comments will remain open and available through the public hearing process and the consideration of final maps, the release states.
After the hearings conclude, the commission can approve a final plan and submit it to the Supreme Court at any time up until Sept. 28.
Glenwood Springs Post Independent staff contributed to this report.