Colorado Supreme Court signs off on new congressional map

Colorado’s Supreme Court Monday unanimously signed off on a new congressional map for the state that adds a competitive House district heading into the 2022 midterms. 

The map, which was passed by the state’s redistricting commission and bolsters the number of House seats from seven to eight, will likely boost Colorado’s current incumbent representatives and create an eighth district that will be home to likely one of the hardest fought House races in 2022.

It also represents the first time Colorado’s maps were drawn by its 12-member redistricting body.

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“[T]his year has marked a watershed for congressional redistricting in Colorado,” Justice Monica Marquez wrote in the decision. “For the first time, the state’s congressional district map is not the product of politics or litigation; it is instead the product of public input, transparent deliberation, and compromise among twelve ordinary voters representing the diversity of our state.”

The newly formed 8th Congressional District expands north from Denver through Thornton to Greeley in Weld County and includes a section of Loveland. It is approximately one-third Hispanic.

Underscoring the new district’s competitiveness, it is the only one of the eight drawn that both parties would have won in recent history in statewide contests.

The district would have voted for Donald TrumpDonald TrumpWendy Sherman takes leading role as Biden's 'hard-nosed' Russia negotiator Senate needs to confirm Deborah Lipstadt as antisemitism envoy — Now Former acting Defense secretary under Trump met with Jan. 6 committee: report MORE over Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonA year into his presidency, Biden is polling at an all-time low The Memo: 2024 chatter reveals Democratic nervousness Second gentleman Emhoff acts as public link to White House MORE by 1.7 points in 2016, but it would have gone for Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetBiden addresses Coloradans after wildfires: 'Incredible courage and resolve' Equilibrium/Sustainability — Mars may start 'terraforming itself' Boulder County picks up pieces after unprecedented wind and firestorm MORE (D) over El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn (R) in the same year.

In 2020, then-Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperDemocrats race to squash Cruz's Nord Stream 2 sanctions bill Biden addresses Coloradans after wildfires: 'Incredible courage and resolve' Equilibrium/Sustainability — Mars may start 'terraforming itself' MORE (D) would have won the district by 1.7 percentage points over Sen. Cory GardnerCory GardnerEleven interesting races to watch in 2022 The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden to tackle omicron risks with new travel rules Gun control group alleges campaign finance violations in lawsuit against NRA MORE (R), who he beat statewide by 9 points.

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The new district will grant Democrats just a 1.3 percent advantage, based on the results of previous elections.

Colorado’s other seven seats are divided among four Democrats and three Republicans. All of them face what are anticipated to be relatively easy reelection campaigns under the new maps.

The new district has attracted a number of Hispanic candidates, including Adams County Commissioner Chaz Tedesco and state Rep. Yadira Caraveo (D). 

The approval of the new maps marks the culmination of the results of the 2020 census, which found that Colorado grew by about 750,000 residents over the last decade – far more than the 721,715 residents needed to add a new district. 

Still, the new map faces criticism by those who say the new district dilutes the voting power of Hispanics by packing them in with white voters who could vote against candidates favored by Latinos. Critics also had pushed for the creation of more competitive districts. 

“The Plan surely will not please everyone, but again, the question before us is not whether the Commission adopted a perfect redistricting plan or even the ‘best’ of the proposed alternatives,” Marquez wrote, maintaining that the redistricting panel did not run afoul of the state constitution.