Redistricting redux

We hope that when the House Redistricting Committee holds a hearing later today on the Republican plan for creating new Colorado congressional districts, a few Democrats will support the plan.

Not that we think the latest GOP plan is perfect. But it is far better than the Senate Democratic plan unveiled last week, which amounts to a raised middle finger aimed at the Western Slope, Eastern Plains and the bulk of rural Colorado.

As other observers have noted, the Democratic plan is so arranged that all seven members of Colorado’s congressional delegation could reside within 30 miles or so of Denver City Hall, and most wouldn’t have to campaign strenuously outside the metro area to be elected. Grand Junction would be in the same district as Boulder.

In introducing that plan, Sen. Rollie Health of Boulder and other Senate Democrats ignored the repeated pleas from people on the Western Slope, the Eastern Plains and elsewhere that communities with common interests be kept in the same congressional districts. There’s no need to worry about the concerns of rural Coloradans if you don’t need them to get elected.

Even Democrats appear to recognize how unpopular the plan is. Heath said he might not even bring it up for a hearing.

The Republican plan released this week would maintain congressional districts much like those currently in place. The 3rd Congressional District would include most of the Western Slope — although Grand, Summit and Eagle counties would remain in the 2nd District, as they are now.

Pueblo County and the San Luis Valley would be part of the 3rd District, just as they are today.

There is room for some adjustment in the Republican plan — especially in the districts that include Denver and surrounding communities — to make them more competitive.

But the overall plan is far better than what Senate Democrats have introduced. It deserves support from members of both parties. However, skeptics may be forgiven if they believe that’s unlikely to occur in the hyper-partisan atmosphere surrounding this issue.

Odds are it will end up in court, and a judge will once again determine the congressional boundaries Coloradans will live with for the next decade.


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