Thirteen days before its final deadline, the Colorado Congressional Redistribution Panel is rallying around a Democratic commissioner’s plan to redesign the United States House districts.
The committee voted 8-4 Monday to move forward with Commissioner Martha Coleman’s plan and asked non-partisan staff on the committee to formalize their ideas in a map, which was released on Wednesday.
“As I listen to the discussions, we come together and unite around things that I think will work,” Commissioner Danny Moore, a Republican from Centennial, said of Coleman’s card last week.
Coleman’s proposed American house map would create a new 8th district just north of Denver without drastically changing the other seven districts in the other state. Denver and Colorado Springs would retain their own districts, as would the Western Slope and the Eastern Plains. One district in northern Colorado would include the college towns of Boulder and Fort Collins, while two other districts would be located in the suburbs just west and east of Denver.
Wednesday’s map is the third released by the commission and differs significantly from its second map, which used a north-south configuration unpopular with commissioners and most citizens who testified in public hearings. The second map would have placed Northwest Colorado in the same neighborhood as Boulder and Grand Junction in the same neighborhood as Southeast Colorado.
In two lengthy meetings over the past week that have at times turned into bickering, commissioners from all walks of life signaled their support for Coleman’s map and their willingness to change it until there is have sufficient support for a vote.
“This card really represents a compromise,” Commissioner JulieMarie Shepherd Macklin, a Republican from Aurora, said at Monday’s meeting. “It tries to incorporate some major themes that we’ve heard and gives us the opportunity to create more competitive districts. “
Eight votes are needed to approve a final map, which commissioners have until Sept. 28 to send to the Colorado Supreme Court for review. If not, state employees will pull one up and send it to court instead – a scenario that the commissioners say would be a dereliction of duty.
As part of the third iteration of the proposed United States House District map, five districts would favor Democrats: the North District, the Denver District, and the three suburban Denver districts. Three districts would favor Republicans like now: Colorado Springs, Western Slope and Eastern Plains. Only the new 8th District would be competitive, meaning current members of Congress would almost certainly be re-elected next year.
The committee will discuss the card on Thursday evening. If he doesn’t vote to approve a map next week, his staff will draw another map and release it on September 23. The committee will then be able to vote on this card – or on any other card of its choice. If the commission cannot dispute eight votes for a card by September 28, the September 23 personnel card will be sent to the Supreme Court.