The independent panel redrawing legislative district lines came out with its first preliminary maps Tuesday, ones that would make some significant changes to local Colorado House and Senate districts.
For starters, Senate District 7, currently represented by Sen. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction, would again include parts of Delta County, but with two differences: It would be known as Senate District 6, and it would include the eastern half of Delta County. Before the last redistricting in 2011, that Senate seat covered the western half of Delta County.
Under this version of the map, Delta County would go into GOP-leaning districts. Currently, the entire county is represented by a Democrat, Sen. Kerry Donovan of Vail.
On the House side, Grand Junction would continue to be its own House district, though it would change from HD 55 to HD 56.
That district, which currently is represented by Rep. Janice Rich, R-Grand Junction, would be smaller in geographic size, losing parts of Orchard Mesa and Clifton, but continuing to have the core of the city and the Redlands.
Meanwhile, what currently is HD54 (which would become HD55) still would include Mesa County outside of the city and parts of Delta County. But except for including the western end of that county, the new map would give it parts of the northern end, including the towns of Cedaredge and Panoia.
As a result, that part of Delta County would go from having a Democrat representing it to a Republican-leaning district. Currently, Rep. Julie McCluskie, D-Dillon, represents that end of the county.
That district also would extend north into parts of Garfield County. Parachute and Battlement Mesa wouldn’t be in it, but Rifle and Silt would.
To the south, the House district that goes from Montrose County to the Four Corners, which currently is represented by GOP Rep. Marc Catlin of Montrose, would get the rest of Delta County, as that district once did. It, too, would see a number change, from HD58 to HD53.
That district would pick up Hotchkiss, Orchard City and the city of Delta, meaning that where Rep. Matt Soper, R-Delta, currently resides would be in Catlin’s district. Currently, Soper represents Mesa County outside of Grand Junction and the western half of Delta County, including the city of Delta.
Up north, the House district currently represented by Rep. Perry Will, R-New Castle, would gain Democrat-leaning Routt County, including Steamboat Springs, making it the most competitive district in the region. Meanwhile, the Senate district that covers that area, which would be renamed SD5, would extent into Larimer County, but lose Summit County, turning it from a solid GOP district to a more competitive one.
Based purely on voter registrations in all districts, 36 House districts statewide would lean Democrat, while 29 would lean Republican. Still, 11 of them would be more competitive, each being within plus or minus 5% of registered voters between the two parties.
Currently, there are 41 Democrats in the House and 24 Republicans.
In the Senate, 21 seats would lean Democrat with 14 Republican, mirroring the same Democrat-to-Republican split as exists now. Only four of those districts are within 5% of voters in party affiliation.
Like the first congressional district map released last week, these maps, which were drawn by nonpartisan commission staff, are only the first of what could be hundreds of different versions the redistricting panels will review over the next several months.