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KOA – Was There Disappointment in the Final Commission Map?

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Floyd Ciruli

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April Zesbaugh, Floyd Ciruli and Marty Lenz
April Zesbaugh, Floyd Ciruli and Marty Lenz

A key topic in a KOA interview with April Zesbaugh and Marty Lenz (9-29-21) concerned disappointment in the final map produced by the new Colorado Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission. My view was that voters in 2012 were promised more competitive districts and the map favors all seven of Colorado’s incumbents. The Commission was sensitive to the competition question. It was one of the factors that required 7 votes to get agreement on a final map.

The biggest disappointment for Democrats was that Lauren Boebert’s district went from a 5 percent win in 2020 to a 9 percent potential advantage according to the Commission staff calculations. Democrats had already raised over $1 million for a candidate who no longer lives in the district.

Republicans are somewhat pleased that District 7 Democrat Ed Perlmutter only has a 7 percent advantage in a new district that includes his home county of Jefferson, but extends south down the center of the state.

Both parties and the Hispanic community should be competitive in the new 8th district that runs from the north Denver suburbs to Greeley in Weld County. The partisan advantage is judged to be nearly dead even.

Clearly, the Commission worked very hard for several months. It held 36 public hearings throughout the state and staff published three preliminary maps before the final was approved. The biggest challenge was balancing the often competing guidelines to have an equal number in each district (721,714 required) and make them “compact,” “contiguous,” maintain “communities of interest” following civil rights laws, and finally, be competitive as possible.