DENVER – Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission released a third staff map Thursday that makes slight changes to the second map as it nears next Tuesday’s deadline to have the map finalized.
Additionally, the independent legislative redistricting commission released a second staff plan that will have to be finalized by early next month.
The main changes to the third staff congressional map involve tweaks to the 2nd, 7th and 4th congressional districts and were made following more discussion by commissioners at a meeting on Monday.
The commission will have to vote to approve a final congressional redistricting map by Tuesday, Sept. 28 and will meet on Friday afternoon to have the plan presented to them by staff. Commissioners will then meet in a work session on Saturday to discuss it and make any more amendments.
Under the plan released Thursday, the Roaring Fork Valley in Eagle County would be kept whole and would be in the 3rd Congressional District, along with the rest of the Western Slope and down into southern Colorado. The previous map included all of Eagle County in the 2nd Congressional District.
Another change involves moving all of Broomfield into the proposed 7th Congressional District – a change that was made in the wake of public comments delivered after the second staff plan was released, according to commission staff.
Under the third proposed staff plan, most of the population of Douglas County would be included in the 4th Congressional District; the previous plan put the western half of Douglas County into the proposed 7th district.
The proposed, and newly created, 8th Congressional District would include all of Commerce City, Brighton, Northglenn, Thornton, Greeley, Firestone, Frederick and Mead, and parts of Arvada, Westminster and Johnstown.
The proposed 5th Congressional District would include all of Colorado Springs and the El Paso County-based military installations: Air Force Academy, Cheyenne Mountain Space Force Station, Peterson Air Force Base, Schriever Space Force Base and Fort Carson.
The bulk of the rest of the proposed districts remain largely unchanged from the second staff plan released Sept. 16. The second staff plan formed the basis for the third staff plan and was based off one drawn by commissioner Martha Coleman, a Democratic geographer from Fort Collins.
The third congressional staff plan makes the proposed 8th Congressional District even more competitive than the last map. According to an average of eight statewide elections since 2016, the district would be a toss-up with a very slight Democratic edge.
That average would put the proposed 7th district +7% for Democrats and the 3rd Congressional District at +9.3% for Republicans. The 1st, 2nd and 6th would all be fairly safe Democratic districts, while the 4th and 5th would be safe Republican districts, according to those averages.
The 8th Congressional District would still be more than one-third Hispanic, and the 1st and 3rd congressional districts would each be at least one-quarter Hispanic, according to the proposals and a staff report.
The independent commission made up of four Democrats, four Republicans and four unaffiliated voters can approve a map anytime through Sept. 28 and will have to submit it to the Colorado Supreme Court by Oct. 1. The latest map will be submitted if commissioners cannot come to an agreement by the end of Tuesday.
The second staff plan for the legislative redistricting, which will determine where Colorado’s state House and Senate districts will be drawn, also keeps Democrats in the majority in both chambers, though both new proposals differ significantly from the maps released on Sept. 13.
The legislative redistricting commission will have to approve its plan by Oct. 11.