Sep 7, 2021 - News
New political map draft is a political scramble
 A draft map of congressional district boundaries released Sept. 3.
A draft map of congressional district boundaries released Sept. 3. Source: Colorado Independent Redistricting Commission

The first draft of congressional district maps drawn with new 2020 census data is a political mess.

Driving the news: The independent congressional redistricting commission's nonpartisan staff crafted the fresh political boundaries for the state's eight districts. The focus was the creation of a southern district and multiple districts with large portions of Latino voters.

  • The latest map released Friday differs from a preliminary sketch (without the new census numbers) issued in June.
  • Democratic state Sen. Julie Gonzales of Denver celebrated the new drawing, telling Colorado Politics that "the Latino community grew larger in Colorado in the latest Census, and these latest commission maps reflect that fact."

Yes, but: It created bizarre political pairings.

  • The revamped 2nd District puts anti-oil-and-gas Boulder with energy-rich Moffat and Garfield counties, and gun-regulating Democratic Rep. Joe Neguse on the same turf as gun-toting Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert.
  • The 4th District covers all of rural eastern Colorado and Douglas County, one of the nation's wealthiest — as well as downtown Fort Collins.
  • The 3rd District in the south adds Vail to its strange bedfellows, including Grand Junction and Aspen, and Trinidad and Durango.

By the numbers: Three districts are safe Democrat, and two are safe Republican. One favors each party by 5 percentage points and one is a true toss-up, according to the Colorado Sun.

What to watch: The nonpartisan staff — at the direction of the commission — will draw two more iterations in coming months.

  • The public can comment on the new maps, in the hopes of influencing the panel, at four regional hearings this week.

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