Colorado’s inaugural independent congressional redistricting commission wrapped up its work Tuesday night and selected a final congressional map plan to use for the next decade.
The commissioners voted 11-1 to adopt the “Staff Plan 3 Coleman Amendment,” comprised of a set of adjustments authored by Democratic commissioner Martha Coleman to the most recent “third staff plan,” drawn by the commission’s staff.
The map centers around two main mapping concepts that developed growing support among the commission’s in recent weeks.
The plan creates a new and additional 8th Congressional District in the quickly growing and heavily Hispanic suburbs and municipalities north of Denver, and it creates a “southern district” that groups together the state’s rural Hispanic voters.
It has four solid Democratic seats, three solid Republican seats, and the new 8th Congressional District that falls within the range of what most consider to be competitive, but with a slight Democratic lean. In a swing election favoring Republicans, the tight partisan margin in the new district could lead to a 4-4 split congressional delegation.
The map also looks good for the state’s incumbent congressional delegation, with each of Colorado’s seven U.S. House members in a district that favors their party, but with no incumbent in the newly added 8th Congressional District. Earlier draft maps considered by the commission placed some of the incumbents into districts that wouldn’t favor their re-election, even though congressional candidates aren’t required to live in the district they represent. Notably, Republican congresswoman Lauren Boebert was drawn into a Democratic-favoring district largely consisting of voters currently represented by Democrat Joe Neguse. But the two are both in safe districts in the final adopted map.
The final vote to adopt the plan came after four hours of debate and six rounds of ballot voting, all of which failed to meet the criteria required by the state constitution to adopt a final map: Support from eight of the 12 commissioners, including two of the four party-unaffiliated commissioners.
The commission is made up of four Republicans, four Democrats and four party-unaffiliated voters.
In the coming days, the commission’s staff will prepare the map and a report summarizing the entire process, for submission to the Colorado Supreme Court by the end of the week.
The state’s high court will review the plan to make sure it meets the constitutional requirements.
If it approves it, the map will become the state’s congressional map for the next decade. The court could decide if the map doesn’t meet the state’s constitutional requirements and send it back to the commission for adjustments.