Surprise: Colorado Democratic Party hates latest GOP congressional map

Update: Dems release map that would sacrifice ground in CD4 to make CD3 and CD6 more competitive (see image below).

The battle in Colorado over the shape of next decade’s congressional districts continues. State Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio fired off a response to the latest proposed map released by state Republicans. Democrats want to draw more competitive districts. Republicans want to effectively retain existing districts. Democrats argue that competition will result in greater lawmaker responsiveness and less partisanship. Republicans say they are seeking to avoid disruption and retain communities of interest.

“Republicans are sending a clear message to Colorado voters for the next decade: when it comes to your representation in Congress, your opinion and your vote won’t matter, Palacio is quoted to say in a release. “The GOP is trying to freeze the status quo while Coloradans are demanding a real say in who speaks for them in Washington.

“Competitive districts force representatives to pay attention to every voter and every issue, not just those of their political base. And competitive districts reflect Colorado’s political makeup, where voters equally identify as Democrats, Republicans, and unaffiliated from any party.”

The Republican map was reportedly released Friday. Democrats are set to release their map this afternoon.

When the state legislature last session failed to pass district boundaries updated according to recent census data, lawsuits redirected the task to federal district Judge William Hood, who will begin to hear arguments in mid October. Hood ordered the party maps released in advance of the coming trial so various stakeholders and community-of-interest representatives set to give testimony could adequately prepare.

A strategic endeavor with long-term consequences, redistricting is as much poker as demographic science. There’s no secret that both parties are angling for advantage.

As Lynn Bartels at the Denver Post reports, Republicans called their latest map “Minimum Disruption,” a title mocked by Democrats as a name more suitable to a “light jazz quartet.”

The Republican map would seem to create predictably partisan districts. Swing district CD3, currently held by Republican Scott Tipton, would include more GOP voters, as would recently purple CD4, presently held by Republican Cory Gardner. CD7, represented by Democrat Ed Perlmutter, would include more Democrats.

For their part, state Democrats have reportedly targeted CD6, currently represented by Republican Mike Coffman, for the most change. Coffman’s district is mostly suburban Denver, an area where Democrats are betting the population is most likely to trend left in coming years. In moving favorable voting areas into CD6, however, Democrats may also be taking a right-leaning district like CD4 out of contention.

Click on the maps to enlarge them:

Republican map:

Democratic map:

Current district boundaries:

After the 2008 election, Democrats represented five of the state’s seven congressional districts. In the 2010 election, Democrats lost two of those districts to Republicans, CD3 and CD4.

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