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The 12 members of Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission agreed on an overhaul of the state’s U.S. House districts Sept. 28 in a vote taken minutes before a self-imposed …
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The 12 members of Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission agreed on an overhaul of the state’s U.S. House districts Sept. 28 in a vote taken minutes before a self-imposed deadline.
The map would create three safe seats for Democrats, three safe seats for Republicans and two seats that could go either way.
Under the plan, the Adams County cities of Northglenn, Thornton, Commerce City and Brighton would be part of the brand-new 8th Congressional District, as would most of Westminster and Fort Lupton in Weld County.
The plan would leave virtually all of Douglas and Elbert counties where they are now, in the 4th Congressional District. The populated western sections of Arapahoe County, including Littleton, Englewood and Centennial, would be in the 6th District along with adjacent areas of Jefferson County, like Ken Caryl and Columbine.
Most of Jefferson County would be in the 7th Congressional District, while Clear Creek County would be assigned to the 2nd District.
The proposal was approved by an 11-1 vote just before midnight after seven rounds of voting and hours of contentious debate. The map was sent to the Colorado Supreme Court, which could adopt the plan by Nov. 1 or send it back to the commission for revisions. Legal challenges are expected.
The map being sent to the court is an amended version of a staff plan released earlier in September. It received votes from three Democrats, four Republicans and four unaffiliated commissioners on the 12-member panel.
Democratic Commissioner Simon Tafoya, a Denver Democrat, was the lone vote against sending the proposal to the Supreme Court.
Eight votes, including from two unaffiliated commissioners, were required for the map to be approved.
“Despite the proverbial bumps in the road, … together we have changed the course of congressional redistricting in Colorado, and provide an example for the rest of the country,” said a tearful Commissioner Lori Schell, an unaffiliated voter from Durango.
The map, should it be approved by the court, will be used in the 2022 congressional elections in Colorado, the outcomes of which could determine partisan control of the U.S. House. Democrats currently control four of Colorado’s seven congressional seats.
The most competitive district under the new map would be the new, heavily Hispanic 8th District based in the north Denver metro area and stretching into Greeley.
Democrats would have a 1.3 percentage point advantage in the district, based on the results of eight statewide races between 2016 and 2020.
Colorado’s seven incumbent U.S. House members would still live in their respective districts under the proposal, though in some instances those districts would be vastly different.
Meanwhile, some announced and potential 2022 congressional candidates in Colorado will find their homes drawn into the districts they were planning to run to represent, while others won’t.
Here’s a look at the eight districts in the new map:
The 1st District would continue to be Denver-centric and a safe Democratic district for Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette.
The 2nd District would cover the northwest Colorado counties of Routt, Jackson, Larimer, Grand, Clear Creek, Gilpin, Jackson and Summit, and also include most of Boulder and Eagle counties. It would also include parts of Weld County and more than 1,800 people from Jefferson County. It would be a safe Democratic district for incumbent U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, a Lafayette Democrat.
The 3rd District would include most of the Western Slope and southern Colorado, including Pueblo. U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Garfield County Republican who represents the district, would have a solid 9.3 percentage point advantage, per historic results. Democratic state Sen. Kerry Donovan of Vail, who is running to unseat Boebert, would live in the 2nd District.
The 4th District would be compromised of Douglas County, including Castle Rock, as well as Loveland and other parts of Larimer County. The Eastern Plains, including Weld County and eastern Adams and Arapahoe counties, would also be in the district, which would remain a safe district for Republican Rep. Ken Buck, of Windsor.
The 5th District would be centered in Colorado Springs, including military bases in El Paso County, and would remain a safe Republican seat for U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn.
The 6th District would remain anchored in Aurora and include much of Arapahoe County, as well as parts of Adams, Jefferson and Douglas counties. It would remain a safe Democratic district for U.S. Rep. Jason Crow, of Centennial.
The 7th District would be a reconfigured, competitive district including much of Jefferson County but also Lake, Park, Teller, Chaffee, Custer and Fremont counties in the central mountains. Democratic U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, of Arvada, currently represents the district. Potential Republican challenger, state Rep. Colin Larson, of Ken Caryl, would be just across the border in the 6th District, though members of Congress don’t have to live in the district they represent.
The new 8th District would include the north Denver suburbs of Thornton, Commerce City, Brighton and Northglenn, as well as most of Westminster and all of Greeley. Democratic state Rep. Yadira Caraveo, of Thornton, has already announced her bid for the seat, but the competitive nature of the seat is sure to entice Republican challengers.
Mark Harden of Colorado Community Media contributed to this story.
This story is from The Colorado Sun, a journalist-owned news outlet based in Denver and covering the state. For more, and to support The Colorado Sun, visit coloradosun.com. The Colorado Sun is a partner in the Colorado News Conservancy, owner of Colorado Community Media.
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