DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado’s new 8th Congressional District will be the state’s most competitive and its most diverse if the Colorado Supreme Court adopts it.
The Colorado Independent Congressional and Legislative Redistricting Commissions approved their final choice for the state’s new district late Tuesday night. It was needed after a decade of explosive population growth, and the congressional commission has spent the last months sending a series of three proposed new maps to the public for input.
Late on Sept. 28, it adopted the third map. The plan will go to the state supreme court by Oct. 1 for approval.
The adopted plan, if approved, will preserve Colorado’s Democratic balance, but only if Democrats are careful. The new map gives Democrats three districts solidly, one narrowly and one by a razor margin.
Political analysts use many different calculations to tell which way a district leans. Since the commission hasn’t released a precinct-level breakdown of the new district, Data Desk is looking at two broad measurements – elections results and voter registrations.
The commission broke down the average difference between the percentage of Democratic versus Republican votes in eight different elections back to 2016.
Districts 3, 4 and 5 each had solid Republican averages, while districts 1, 2 and 6 had firm Democratic averages. District 7 had a tighter differential. Only 6.9% more of the vote went to Democrats than Republicans.
The new District 8 has a razor margin by this metric, with only 1.3% more of the vote to Democrats.
The difference changes slightly with voter registration. The difference between the district’s portion of registered Democrats and Republicans still swings solid blue for districts 1, 2 and 6 but narrows for districts 7 and 8 to less than 3%.
Districts 1-6 each have one party with a comfortable lead over the other in terms of voter registrations.
Both districts 7 and 8 have Democrats leading, but only by 12,000 or 13,000 voters.
The mixed political affiliations will complicate the picture for the state’s upcoming 2022 congressional delegation. So will racial demographics.
District 8 will eclipse Denver’s District 1 as the state’s most diverse and the most Hispanic.
In District 1, only 54.4% of the electorate are non-Hispanic whites. District 8 will have only 51.7% of its voters as non-Hispanic whites.
District 8 will also be the most Hispanic by far. It has a 38.5% Hispanic voter base, higher than District 1 by 11 points.