Political Pulse: Redistricting leads lawmakers to scramble
Redistricting shifted political boundaries and moved state lawmakers out of their previous districts.
- Now, questions are arising about where those lawmakers live and whether they can legally hold their legislative seats.
Why it matters: Colorado legally mandates that lawmakers live in their districts — at their "primary home" — for at least a year before running for office.
- Democratic state Sen. Pete Lee is registered to vote in a small home owned by his stepdaughter, but admitted to spending the night with his wife who lives outside the district.
- Republican state Sen. Dennis Hisey is registered to vote at a Colorado Springs home owned by his son in District 11, but the lawmaker spends much of his time at a home he owns with his wife in Fountain, in his current District 12. He was drawn into a district occupied by a current lawmaker whose term goes to early 2025.
- Democratic state Rep. Kyle Mullica moved to his mother's home in Federal Heights to run for a state Senate seat before his family purchased a home in District 24.
- Democratic state Rep. Tracey Bernett moved to an apartment in Louisville five days before the deadline after her Longmont home was moved into a GOP-leaning district.
- Democratic state Rep. Donald Valdez listed his address at a home owned by his wife in Pueblo West, but he was registered to vote at his parents' house in Conejos County, which is his district.
- Republican state Sen. Bob Rankin is registered to vote at a home in Carbondale that he hasn't owned for five years. He and his wife, a state Board of Education member, bought a condo in Denver shortly after the sale.
Threat level: In August, El Paso County prosecutors charged Lee, a prominent committee chairman, with a felony for allegedly providing false information about where he lives. Lee is fighting the charge.
- A Denver court rejected a lawsuit challenging Mullica's residency in September. He has said he moved to his mother's to help her at home.
- A Boulder GOP official filed a complaint against Bernett, who has declined to comment on the residency question.
Of note: Two others, Democratic state Rep. Donald Valdez and Republican state Rep. Matt Soper, faced residency questions in the past but avoided being removed from office.
The bottom line: When redistricting shifts district lines, lawmakers are forced to decide whether to move, run against a colleague or retire.
🗳 Political Pulse is a regular feature from Axios Denver to help you catch up quick on Colorado politics.
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