Is Colorado’s latest redistricting map fair? Politicians are split on the answer

Politics

DENVER (KDVR) — After several drafts, the Independent Redistricting Commission sent the map of Colorado’s new congressional districts to the state’s Supreme Court.

Even after all the hearings and meetings on the maps, some are calling on the high court to reject the whole plan.

Whether Colorado’s new map is fair or not really depends on who you ask. Some believe it gives an upper hand to a certain political party, while others are looking at how it impacts one key demographic.

State Sen. Kerry Donovan is running against sitting Congresswoman Lauren Boebert for Colorado’s third district. Donovan paused her campaign Monday, saying the map as proposed makes both the third district and the state more Republican than previous drafts.

“This map does not maximize competitive seats across the state nor on the Western Slope,” Donovan said.

“Because the political landscape of the Western Slope and Southern Colorado is changing so much, a competitive seat lets the voters hold their elected official accountable. If we make seats safer, then we really are going against the capabilities of voters to hold their elected officials accountable,” Donovan said.

The state’s Republican party said the map is competitive and they are pleased with the process the commission used to make it:

“We want to thank all twelve members of the Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission for their hard work and many sacrifices over the past few months. We are pleased that the process approved by Colorado voters was successful and that the commission was able to overwhelmingly agree on a competitive map. Colorado Republicans look forward to fighting for every vote in all 64 counties in 2022.” – Colorado GOP Chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown

A second potential problem is also being raised. Some groups, like the non-partisan Colorado Common Cause, said the map could better represent communities of color.

“Communities of color make up about 30% of the state’s population overall. But unfortunately, this proposed congressional map does not reflect that diversity,” said Jennifer Parenti, Northern Colorado organizer for the organization.

“It, rather, splits our communities of color across multiple districts, while seemingly prioritizing municipal boundaries and protecting incumbents.”

But the new, eighth congressional district is already drawing attention because of the diverse candidates running for the seat.

Pediatrician and state Rep. Yadira Caraveo and Adams County Commissioner Chaz Tedesco are both vying for the position.

“My concern is this district and the people that I represent and how the district is drawn for those people that I represent,” Tedesco said. “You know, our district right now has a high Hispanic, Latino population and we want to make sure that district is represented well when going into Congress.”

“I have trust in the system that we as Colorado voters put in place with Amendments X and Y and the fact this is what voters wanted,” Caraveo said. “They wanted an independent commission that would be outside of politics to decide what the next set of maps looked like and I think that process has gone the way we anticipated. The decision is really up to the courts now.”

If Caraveo wins the eighth district race, she would become the first Latina elected to serve Colorado in Congress. Tedesco would be the first Latino outside of the Salazar brothers.

The Supreme Court has until Nov. 1 to decide whether they will keep this map or send it back to the commission to take another crack at it.

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