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Colorado Supreme Court Approves New Congressional District Maps

November 2, 2021 by Dan McCue

DENVER — The Colorado Supreme Court on Monday unanimously approved a new congressional district map drawn by the state’s independent redistricting commission despite claims the new map will dilute the “electoral influence” of Latino voters.

“As this cycle has once again confirmed, redistricting is an ‘incredibly complex and difficult process that is fraught with political ramifications and high emotions,’” said Justice Monica Marquez, writing for the court.

“The plan surely will not please everyone, but again, the question before us is not whether the commission adopted a perfect redistricting plan or even the ‘best’ of the proposed alternatives,” Marquez continued. “The question is whether the plan meets the requirements of Article V, Section 44.3 [of the state constitution].

“Based on our review, we conclude that the commission did not abuse its discretion in applying the criteria in Article V, Section 44.3,” she wrote.

The map, which will be used in the 2022 midterm election, creates three safe seats for Democrats, three safe seats for Republicans and two seats that are considered “competitive.”

One of those competitive districts is the new 8th Congressional District, which the commission placed in a rapidly growing area to the north of Denver with a large Hispanic population. 

The district will be 38.5% Hispanic, and Democrats will have a 1.3 percentage point advantage, based on the results of previous elections.

But the other newly competitive district is the formerly “safe” Democratic enclave currently represented by Rep. Ed Perlmutter.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo.

Perlmutter won his 2020 reelection bid by a comfortable 21 points in what was a solidly Democratic and suburban district, but for at least the next decade, the district will also include one of the area’s few conservative counties, making it perhaps the most competitive district in the state.

In a statement provided to The Well News, Perlmutter greeted the change to his district with a positive outlook.

“I’m excited to meet the many new voters who live in the new and incredibly beautiful 7th Congressional District,” he said. “Though the new district is much larger and expands beyond the suburbs, the issues facing us are the same.

“We want a strong economy, a solid education for our children, to tackle the challenges of climate change, protect our public lands, and to have the ability to save for retirement and live our Colorado way of life. It will be hard work, but together I’m optimistic about our future,” Perlmutter said.

Colorado is one of only 15 states in the nation where Democrats control all three branches of state government, and it relinquished control of redistricting to an independent commission for the first time this year. 

The new panel approved its first congressional district map on Sept. 28 in an 11-1 vote.

Colorado is the seventh state in the country to complete its congressional redistricting process.

However, the state Supreme Court is still in the process of reviewing two other proposed maps — one for new state House district lines, and another for new state Senate district lines. 

The court’s decision on the legislative maps is expected by Nov. 15.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue.

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