We have new State House and State Senate maps

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)



Today, the Reapportionment passed new State House and State Senate District maps. They will be sent to the CO Supreme Court for approval.

There may be a little wiggle room for a court challenge, but I really don’t think one will be successful unless there is some issue that everyone, including me, has overlooked.

View the SD map here.

View the HD map here.

One technical note, the numbering of the districts will still be changing a little as the Commission passed a motion to allow incumbents who do not have other incumbents in their new district to keep the same district number. A special motion was passed to give Pat Steadman SD31 even though he technically has another incumbent (Joyce Foster) in the district because Joyc e has already announced she will not run.

There was and is a lot of debate over what is a “competitive” district. I will use my own yardstick in this regard and I differentiate between leaning D, leaning R, and very competitive. My process is use an average of the D & R votes for Treasurer and for CU Regent in 2010. If the result is +/- 5% of 50-50 that is leaning and if it is +/- 2% of 50-50, that is very competitive.

Using this standard the SD map has:

14 Safe R seats

3 Leaning R seats

9 Safe D seats

4 Leaning D Seats

5 Very Competitive Very Competitive

And the HD map has:

23 Safe R seats

4 Leaning R seats

15 Safe D seats

9 Leaning D seats

14 Very Competitive seats

25 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. RedGreenRedGreen says:

    what’s the current breakdown using your lean safe competitive scoring?

    • Dan WillisDan Willis says:

      I don’t have the 2010 results for treaurer and CU regent by HD and SD.

      But I can tell from experience that having 27 house seats that either a D or R could potentiallyt win is a pretty big increase. There are only a handful now. Same on the SD side, 18 potentially flippable seats is also an increase.

      One prime example: not all of Denver is safely Dem anymore. My district, HD9, has gone from leaning Dem to Very Competitive.

  2. The realistThe realist says:

    Sure doesn’t looked balanced, especially if you assume Colorado is a “purple” state.  

    If I’m reading your numbers correctly, THIS is how you turn a purple state red — the reapportionment process!  With these maps the county I live in has gone from competitive, even Dem-leaning, to leaning Republican for the House seat and strongly Republican for the Senate seat.  And most of the Dems in my county either didn’t understand what was going on, or didn’t care.  

    • Dan WillisDan Willis says:

      If you look at only the safe seats, yes it favors the GOP, but really not any more than our over all voter registration does. There are simply larger dense pockets of Repuablicans than there are of Democrats.

      The huge number of competitive seats (plus all of those leaning seats which can be flippable) will really make each legislative election more interesting. neither party can ever take majority statis in either house for granted any more. Perhaps that part is a good thing.

      Now, we just need to lift the draconian campaign finance limits enough to let people who are not wealthy be able to run for these competitive seats.

  3. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    How would these districts look in 2008 when it was a Democratic Tsunami? If it flips to an equal advantage Dem then it’s probably fair. If it doesn’t flip equally, then it’s advantage Repubs. Would have been nice if we got evenly balanced by the 2010 vote – because that would have favored us Dems as the pendulum swings back.

    With that said, either party has a decent chance with those numbers.

    • baaramewe says:

      Why would you use just one year to determine if a district was D or R. And if so, why would you use 2010? I think the average from 04′, 06′, 08′, and 10′ would be more accurate.

      • Dan WillisDan Willis says:

        The reasoning behind using 2010 is that while it was an R-favorable year for the federal races, that impact was not felt so strongly down ballot.

        There was not a notably larger registered R turnout, only more U’s voting R for the top of the ballot.

        The Commission based their numbers almost exclusively on the Treasurers race (although they provided stats for several others). I also use the CU race because it is so low profile that I think it better reflects how voters will vote in circumstaces of all things being euqal. The downside to this race is that it had a 3rd-party candidate which skews the R to D result ratio. That’s why I use the combiniation of the two races to compensate for each other’s skews.

        Using 2008 has the problem of the “Obama effect”. His candidacy turned out tons of one-time voters, and there was a noticable effect on all of the down ticket races. So I consider this election far more skewed. Also there was no low-profile statewide race in 2008. 2006 and earlier is simply too far back to get an reading relative to today’s reality.  

  4. MADCO says:

    Using this standard the SD map has:

    14 Safe R seats

    3 Leaning R seats

    9 Safe D seats

    4 Leaning D Seats

    5 Very Competitive Very Competitive

    And the HD map has:

    23 Safe R seats

    4 Leaning R seats

    15 Safe D seats

    9 Leaning D seats

    14 Very Competitive seats

  5. Gilpin GuyGilpin Guy says:

    What the fuck do we have in common with Park County?

    I don’t think we’re even in the same time zone are we?

    • Dan WillisDan Willis says:

      If the Court chooses to remand the HD map back to the Commission, I suspect it will be for one of two districts or both.

      One of those is the the Glipin/Clear Creek/Park/S.Jeffco district. There is an argument that Jeffco should have had 7 full HD’s within its borders. Instead the map that was passed gave 6 with two partials.

      The other district that I view as potentially challengable is the San Juan to Archuleta HD in SW Colorado. The physical isolation of one part of HD59 from the other part (by Red Mountain Pass) could be construed to be a violation of communities of interest. From a logical view point putting a physical barier in the middle of a district is kind of dumb, but is it unconstitutional. The Court will have to decide that part.

    • Gilpin GuyGilpin Guy says:

      It’s not a mountain town anymore.  It’s a city with inclined sidewalks.

      They live on the flanks of Mount Evans and are drawn to tacky urban sprawl above 7000 feet.

      This is not a marriage of the mountains unless it is a shotgun wedding.

      We have more in common with with Nederland and Boulder county.  We share the same ecosystem and stands of forest.  Our ancestors worked in the same Tungsten and Gold mines.

      We were happy Democrats to be in HD 13 with Claire Levy as our representative.  

    • Especially on the House side.  The new HD25 is a Republican district containing some of the most die-hard Republican sections of south JeffCo.  It has virtually nothing in common with our libertarian leaning Democratic mountain communities.

    • The realistThe realist says:

      look at Eagle County for example.  The House District that’s been in place for 10 yrs logically split off far southwestern Eagle County and grouped it with Pitkin et al., because there is no way to travel to that part of Eagle County without going through Glenwood, then heading to Aspen.  The proposed House map places more of Eagle County with Pitkin and Gunnison — there are no direct highway corridors connecting those three counties because of mountain ranges!  Eagle was also placed with counties to the south of it in its new Senate District — the only highway corridor that connects directly is a mountain road from southern Eagle County to Leadville, in Lake County.

      As I noted earlier, there are (in my opinion) major community of interest problems for Summit County in its new Senate District, and some would argue with its new House District, too.  

  6. sporobolus says:

    the KML files appear to be named “Final Plan [House/Senate] 003v1″ under the Google Earth heading on this page:

    http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Sat

    from this i learned both house and senate new district lines split the residential area of Denver’s Baker neighborhood, whereas old lines kept the neighborhood intact

    • Dan WillisDan Willis says:

      Denver was my primary focus throughout this process. I even managed to get Wellington Webb to allow me access to the Reapportionment staff to draw a Denver map that would respect neighborhood lines.

      In the end the map they adopted was drawn by Mario Carrera, the unaffiliated Chair of the Commission. He put creating a third hispanic majority district in Denver ahead of neighborhood concerns. My map had 2 hispanic majority districts already and 1 “influenced district”.

      Lois Court also got hosed on the new map. She is losing nearly all of her base in the Capitol Hill and Cherry Creek areas and picks up areas that don’t know her as well in Hale and Goldstein neighborhoods.

      Ferrandino’s district is probably the most radically changed baecause he looses all of west Denver and gains all of south central. Only about 1/4 of the new district was in his old one. He also has an odd flag pole that goes all the way to 20th.

      There are more neighborhoods united on this map than on the original one, so I consider it a partial victory.

  7. Say Hey Kid says:

    Dan thank you for thorough research and well reasoned analysis.  

  8. ohwilleke says:

    but since 2010 was a GOP highwater and an off year election, but implication for 2012 has to be something very close to even.

  9. Thank you for your work and analysis on this! It’s greatly appreciated!

  10. (as Realist said above)

    Sheesh – rest in peace SD16, SD8, and HD56 – those districts gave Eagle and Summit a voice – this one? Ehhh…..

    However, the new Senate district (SD5) could come to favor Eagle, as I don’t think there’s another county with Eagle’s size in that new SD, so Eagle could send someone to the State Senate for the first time in ages – still though, that State Senator is going to have one EXHAUSTING time getting around the district, from Hinsdale to Vail? Honestly, that drive alone, I believe, takes around 7 hours – more importantly, with the way highways are, driving around the entire SD5 footprint is IMPOSSIBLE – I really mean it when I say that, whomever represents SD5, will automatically reduce their life expectency by around 3 years, simply because of the excessive driving and stress

    Summit got thoroughly burned – they were the biggest county, I believe, in SD16 and a prime county in HD56, which is why they were one of few rural counties to claim a State Rep and State Senator (Christine Scanlan and Dan Gibbs) for a few sessions – but this new map?

    My other home county of LAKE COUNTY did alright – I think SD5 is a good fit for them, as is HD60 — Lake has much more in common with Chaffee than any other bordering county, so any map that keeps Lake with Chaffee is one that I’ll like

    May I just say a quick RIP for House District 56, a wonderful, ski resort district, that to me, embodied everything wonderful about Colorado – fantastic snowboarding and skiing, great hospitality, unique mom and pop shops, and lastly, a bit of our past with Leadville’s mining history – it’s a shame that district is gone now

    And again and lastly, as I’ve said before, I deeply deeply deeply regret that I didn’t fly out to defend Summit and Eagle from being put in these districts

    To everyone in Eagle and Summit — I AM SORRY

    Work in Los Angeles is going well and keeping me busy, so I can’t regret too much, but still, Eagle/Summit/Lake are my homes in Colorado, and I feel bad that I dropped the ball

    And that said – to the politicos of Eagle and Summit, including the editors of the Vail Daily and Summit Daily – we really dropped the ball on this one – there should’ve been more people at the hearings for both counties – I hate to say it, but it’s not just a bad day for both Eagle and Summit, it’s going to be a bad 10 years for their representation

    With love and peace to all!

    ALI

  11. FREMONTDEM says:

    At long last we have a single House District in Fremont county. Our overall influence may have been diminished but accountability has been restored. Gamesmanship has been dealt a blow by reason. Thank you “Super Mario”.

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