Latest redistrict maps keep West Slope united
The fight over realigning Colorado’s congressional districts is heating up again, this time in a Denver court. And it’s no surprise that Republicans and Democrats are once again taking shots at each other for the redistricting proposals they have just released.
From a Western Slope perspective, however, the proposals from both parties are much better than what Democrats offered last spring, when they suggested splitting western Colorado in half and placing Mesa County in the same congressional district as Boulder County.
In both the Democratic and Republican plans released earlier this week, Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District would look much like it does today, with nearly all of the Western Slope included in the district, along with the San Luis Valley, Pueblo County and some other southern Front Range counties. As they are today, Grand, Summit and part of Eagle County would be in the 2nd Congressional District.
The party maps were released earlier this week because they were mandated by a Denver District Court judge as part of lawsuits over redistricting. Those lawsuits were filed after members of the Colorado Legislature failed to reach agreement on congressional redistricting plans. The cases were combined and a trial is set for October.
The judge is not bound by either of the plans released this week. He may come up with something entirely different. Moreover, each of those plans is under attack from members of the other party and, in some cases, from local officials.
Douglas County officials, according to The Denver Post, are irate over the fact that the Democratic plan would place their county in the 4th Congressional District — the largely rural district that includes the Eastern Plains from Wyoming to New Mexico — and not in one of the metro-area congressional districts between Denver and Colorado Springs, as it currently is.
Democrats, on the other hand, charge that the GOP plan would make it easier for Republicans to win re-election in some districts, such as the 3rd Congressional District, which has historically been a very competitive district because it has been reasonably balanced between Republicans, Democrats and independents. In that district, incumbent Republican Scott Tipton faces a strong challenge next year from Democrats.
There are also complaints on the Front Range that the 6th Congressional District, now represented by Republican Mike Coffman, would become much more competitive and not the strong Republican district that it has been.
We’re not endorsing either the Democratic or Republican plans. But, we’re glad they both keep most of the Western Slope in the same district. And we hope that when Judge Robert Hyatt makes a determination on what the state’s congressional districts should look like for the next 10 years, he will also keep most of western Colorado in one district.