Latest Colorado congressional redistricting map released

Posted at 7:50 PM, Sep 03, 2021

DENVER – The latest proposal for Colorado’s congressional redistricting map from the Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission staff released Friday evening puts Rep. Lauren Boebert in the 2nd Congressional District, Fort Collins in the 4th Congressional District with much of rural Colorado, and parts of Greeley in the newly created 8th Congressional District.

It differs greatly from the preliminary map the commission released in June, which was compiled using preliminary 2019 U.S. Census data while the commission awaited the final 2020 Census data.

The preliminary map had split the state in half with the 3rd and 4th congressional districts and moved Pueblo into the 4th, with the remaining six districts concentrated around the Colorado Springs and Denver metro areas.

The new map released Friday – which is going to be modified in the future – tried to keep the San Luis Valley counties in the same district as Huerfano, Las Animas, Otero, Pueblo, Archuleta, La Plata and Montezuma counties, along with Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute lands. Those counties would be in the 3rd Congressional District, which would also include parts of the Roaring Fork Valley.

But the new map splits the Western Slope in half at the Mesa-Garfield county line. The 3rd Congressional District would include all of Eagle County and the Roaring Fork Valley area of Garfield County.

But it does not include the rest of Garfield County, where the Republican Rep. Boebert currently lives. The rest of Garfield, Rio Blanco, Moffat, Routt and Jackson counties are included in the 2nd Congressional District – currently represented by Rep. Joe Neguse, a Lafayette Democrat – on this map, along with Boulder and Broomfield counties, Grand County, and parts of Summit and Larimer counties.

“So, if the redistricting map released tonight holds, looks like I may be running for re-election against … Lauren Boebert,” Neguse tweeted Friday, linking to his fundraising account.

Fort Collins is the part of Larimer County that would be excluded from its current 2nd Congressional District. It would move into the 4th Congressional District, currently represented by Rep. Ken Buck (R-Windsor), and would be grouped in with the more-rural counties on the Eastern Plains and part of Greeley.

The 4th Congressional District would also include most of Douglas County.

The newly created 8th Congressional District on the latest map also includes Windsor and other areas in southwestern Weld County, including most of Greeley. It runs down along Highway 87 through Firestone, Frederick, Brighton, Thornton and includes all of Commerce City on its southern end. Congressional candidates do not have to live in the district they represent.

The 7th Congressional District, currently represented by Rep. Ed Perlmutter, a Jefferson County Democrat, would span from the western metro area, including parts of Arvada, Westminster, Lakewood and Ken Caryl, all the way west to Silverthorne and south to Leadville, Buena Vista, Woodland Park, Salida and Cañon City.

“When it was necessary for nonpartisan staff to divide a county to arrive at the required congressional district population, nonpartisan staff attempted to keep communities of interest together, such as keeping the Roaring Fork Valley together when dividing Garfield County and keeping the major ski areas together when dividing Summit County,” commission staff wrote in a memo on the latest plan.

The 6th Congressional District, currently represented by Rep. Jason Crow, D-Centennial, would include all of Arapahoe County along with Bow Mar, part of Highlands Ranch and the entire city of Aurora. The current map would add the rural parts of Arapahoe County to the district.

The 1st Congressional District, represented by Denver Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette, would include all of the city and county of Denver as well as the enclaves of Arapahoe County that are surrounded by Denver. A small portion of Denver’s population would be in the 8th Congressional District.

Colorado’s 5th Congressional District would still include all of Colorado Springs and the western part of El Paso County and extend up to Green Mountain Falls northwest of Manitou Springs and Cascade.

As to the political competitiveness in the districts on the map released Friday, based off eight statewide elections from 2016 to 2020, districts 1, 2, and 6 would swing more heavily toward Democratic candidates. Districts 4 and 5 would be strong Republican districts.

District 3 would lean Republican and District 7 would lean Democrat, based off the averages. District 8 would be the most competitive.

Robert Preuhs, the chair of political science at Metropolitan State University of Denver, said in an interview Friday evening that he sees the latest map as a 5-3 map for Democrats, which he said was overall reflective of the state in terms of partisanship.

“I’ve got a solid three Democratic districts coming out of those maps, two solid Republican districts, a third leaning Republican, and a fourth and a fifth leaning Democrat,” he said. "So, in terms of big-picture, wholesale changes … probably not as good news for the Republicans who may have been hoping for a little bit more friendly map given that we’ve taken it out of the Democratic legislators’ hands.”

The commission staff said that each district was within one person of the “ideal” district size of 721,714. But they also wrote that “nonpartisan staff does not believe that there is an area in Colorado with sufficient citizen voting age minority population to form a majority-minority congressional district” – which some have sought for Hispanic and Latino areas in the northern Denver metro area.

The commission staff have been holding public meetings across the state to take input from the public and commissioners on how to draw the maps. The commissioners will have to approve the final plan by Sept. 28.

The plan is set to be presented at a meeting Monday at 6 p.m. There are also virtual public hearings set for Sept. 7-10, which people can sign up to attend by clicking here.