By Jim Ellis
Oct. 1, 2021 — The members of the Colorado Independent Redistricting Commissions completed their task of sending congressional and state legislative maps to the state Supreme Court at the assigned deadline, with all but one person supporting the final US House product.
The adopted map was based upon the third staff-produced map, with an amendment from Democratic commission member Martha Coleman (2nd CD) in a re-draw that affected Rep. Ed Perlmutter’s (D-Arvada) 7th District and the new 8th CD.
The staff offering became the commission’s working map. The initiative that created the redistricting panels awarded an inordinate amount of power to the professional staff in the event of a commission deadlock, meaning that a two-thirds majority is not achieved. In such a situation, the staff map would then be directly sent to the state Supreme Court at the assigned deadline. The high court has until Dec. 15 to approve the maps now officially in their possession.
The congressional map now features eight seats, since Colorado was awarded a new district in reapportionment. All of the considered maps placed the new seat in a similar location, with the final product featuring a new 8th CD lying north to northeast of Denver, and encompassing the municipal population centers of Thurston, Westminster, and Greeley.
All seven current incumbents receive districts they can win. Reps. Diana DeGette (D-Denver) and Joe Neguse (D-Boulder) have the strongest Democratic seats, while Reps. Ken Buck (R-Windsor) and Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) have the safest Republican districts. Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora) sees his 6th District substantially improve, while Reps. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) and Perlmutter have districts that clearly favor their party, but which could yield a degree of competitiveness.
Rep. Boebert’s 3rd CD, or the Western Slope district, remains largely intact with the exception of moving further east along Colorado’s southern border. A great deal of the public input at the various hearings expressed the desire to unite many of the Hispanic and Native American communities in that region.
The changes don’t drastically change the political nature of her district, however. In Donald Trump’s two elections, the former president carried the 3rd by 12 and 6 points, respectively, in 2016 and 2020. The aggregate score on the new CO-3 is R+9. Therefore, the partisan complexion is largely unchanged, despite the addition of some different geography.