GOP Circles Redistricting Wagons

Republicans in the Colorado House today introduced a new proposed redistricting map, which passed that GOP-held chamber today ahead of even more certain death in the Democratic-controlled Senate. The changes are simple enough, as reported by the Denver paper’s Lynn Bartels, and reverse previous concessions made to gain Democratic support–more conservative Littletonians in CD-6, more Aurora liberals in CD-1. Reports Bartels, Rep. Dave Balmer is quite candid that the changes are in response to a breakdown in bipartisan negotiations which, at least at some point, included Gov. John Hickenlooper.

That being the case, Republicans simply want the GOP proposal in the legislative record as favorable to them as possible. The next step, presuming the failure of both map bills in their opposing chambers, would either be a special session (which Speaker Frank McNulty has said would be a waste of time), or proceeding straight to ripeness for litigation.

We’ve got your daily dueling nastygrams from McNulty and Sen. Rollie Heath after the jump. Says McNulty, “Democrats have used the word ‘competitive’ to describe their districts. As demonstrated by the statewide outcry to the Democrat plan, Coloradans recognize that not all districts will be a toss-up between Democrats and Republicans; they want their communities of interest represented and will decide themselves who will represent them, not some numbers cruncher in Denver.”

Argues Heath, “In April, Republicans admitted to deliberately drawing districts to give their party an unfair political advantage and solidify their majority for the next decade. Colorado does not want Congressmen or women for life.”


McNulty Statement on Redistricting Map Passed by the House

DENVER-Speaker of the House Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, released the following statement regarding redistricting:

“I have consistently said that Coloradans deserve a fair map. I use the word ‘fair’ on purpose. Colorado is as different in its geography as it is in the way certain parts of Colorado expect their members of Congress to represent them.  

“Democrats have used the word ‘competitive’ to describe their districts. As demonstrated by the statewide outcry to the Democrat plan, Coloradans recognize that not all districts will be a toss-up between Democrats and Republicans; they want their communities of interest represented and will decide themselves who will represent them, not some numbers cruncher in Denver.

“And beyond that, the Democrat plan is even more insidious. All they have done in the name of ‘competitiveness’ is to create a scheme to elect Democrats by ripping Colorado apart. Democrats know that voter registration is not indicative of a district’s performance. Democrat voters in Adams County do not vote like Democrats from Boulder County and Republicans from Denver don’t vote like Republicans from Colorado Springs. And, as Rep. Don Coram (R-Montrose), has pointed out over and over again, the letters ‘R’ and ‘D’ mean even less when you talk to people from rural Colorado.

“This scheme that the Democrats have tried to pull off is not only deceitful, but shows that they are willing to tear through the heart of Colorado’s Eastern Plains just to draw a district for Democrat Senate Pres. Brandon Shaffer of Longmont. They are willing rip apart Colorado to draw a district for one man’s political ambitions.

“The ‘Colorado Communities Map’ forwarded by legislative Republicans is not perfect, but no map will be perfect. Because Colorado still has seven congressional seats, our plan works from the existing boundaries for our congressional districts. From there, population is balanced to meet constitutional requirements and district lines are moved accordingly to account for that balancing. And, no, it is not lost on me that Republicans are working from a map that was drawn by Democrats 10 years ago, but, from our perspective, working from this Democrat map is the fairest way to go about drawing districts for the next 10 years.

“The Democrats disagree. They continue to focus on their smokescreen to scheme Brandon Shaffer into congress and swipe at least three other districts out from underneath Colorado by ripping rural Colorado apart. That is not only unnecessary and foolish, it is unfair.

“The ‘Colorado Communities Map,’ House Bill 1319, while not perfect, is pretty darn good, and it respects city and town boundaries, county boundaries, communities of interest like the western slope and eastern plains, and most importantly, it respects Colorado voters.

“Now is the time for elected state leaders to live up to our constitutional duty to pass and implement a plan for Colorado’s congressional districts and not allow Brandon Shaffer to force this process to court where he thinks he can get a better deal. The time to pass a fair map for Colorado is now. Let us not miss this historic opportunity.”

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Senator Heath says Republicans are trying to rig congressional districts again

Map introduced today is another plan “deliberately tweaked” by Republicans to favor their party in future elections

DENVER- Today, Colorado House Republicans introduced another congressional redistricting map which will give them a 10-year majority in the state. This follows their admission in April that they had “deliberately tweaked” maps to favor the Republican Party in future elections. The admission was reported in the Denver Post in a story entitled “GOP admits skewing Colorado redistricting maps.”  This revelation came even after legislators had formed an historic bipartisan redistricting committee to take on the constitutionally mandated task of redrawing Colorado’s congressional lines. Legislators are charged with redistricting every 10 years following the U.S. Census to account for population shifts.  

On the map introduced today, Redistricting Committee Co-chair Senator Rollie Heath (D-Boulder) made the following comment:

“In April, Republicans admitted to deliberately drawing districts to give their party an unfair political advantage and solidify their majority for the next decade. Colorado does not want Congressmen or women for life. The map introduced by House Republicans today again ‘deliberately tweaks’ Colorado’s congressional lines in a way that will likely create five permanent congressional seats. Colorado voters deserve fair and competitive congressional districts that allow them to hold their elected representatives accountable.”

Last week, Senate Democrats introduced the “Colorado Compromise” redistricting map. The Colorado Compromise map came together by taking public input given at meetings around the state, and it incorporates ideas advanced by both parties.  The Colorado Compromise map includes districts that are competitive (five out of seven districts have less than a seven point difference between registered Republicans and Democrats) and that protect communities of interest such as city and county boundaries and transportation corridors.

10 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Dan WillisDan Willis says:

    I kept holding out for an agreement. But now there is really no option but to go to court.

    It is very clear that a special session would do no good and would only spend we don’t really have.

  2. BlueCat says:

    this was headed to court. No surprise there.

  3. abraham says:

    Thank God the Democrats are pure and walk on the side of the angels.

    It must be hard for them to argue their position wearing those chastity belts.

    • ajb says:

      …is if the courts weren’t an alternative.

      If, say, the state couldn’t hold an election and send its delegation to congress until a map was adopted by the state legislature, then maybe we’d see some progress.  

      • JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

        I would modify it slightly. Keep the courts to resolve constitutional questions and uphold the Voting Rights Act. As long as maps do, the courts should start shoving these maps right back to the legislatures as “political questions.” And yeah, no elections until they make a deal. Possibly delegations would not be seated.

        I assume there are any number of existing legal barriers to this, but it would sure be fun to make these guys negotiate for real.

  4. Republican 36 says:

    Lock them in a room without access to food. When people don’t eat, they decide.

  5. cunninjo says:

    It’s not the court’s job to draw congressional maps. Rather, it’s a fundamental responsibility of the legislature. There are no excuses. I don’t get to elect judges so why should they be legislating something as important as the Congressional map?

    I would love to see the courts order the legislature into a special session and figure this out. Tell them that if a bill is not passed they will be in violation of the Constitution and their oath.

    And if they still can’t agree on a map, hold each one of them in contempt of court.

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