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April 20, 2011 03:59 PM UTC

Kumbaya Committee Closer than they think

  • by: Dan Willis

(An interesting perspective on redistricting from a longtime Polster. – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Last night the Redisitricting Committee seemed to, publically at least, try to be working their way back to being a bipartisan group working together. I hope that direction continues.

There was a fair amount of discussion about what they thought some important points were and listening to them I realized they really were not all that far apart on a resolution.

If fact, I have drawn a new map to try to incorporate much of what I heard. You can see it here.

The political reality of this map is CD’s 1 and 2 will be safe Dem seats, CD’s 4 and 5 will be safe GOP seats and 3, 6, and 7 will be competitive.

No cities are split. Counties are only split to accommodate equal population.

Western Slope is whole except ski communities which are included in CD2 (as is currently).

Eastern Plains are whole.

Per the requests made in public testimony around the state: Longmont is in CD4, El Paso is not split up, Lake is included in ski counties, Aurora is whole, Jeffco is whole, Chaffee is in CD3.

Two requests that could not be accommodated:

Douglas had to be split to make Aurora whole.

Greenwood Village was added to CD1 as it was the only practical way to get to the right population. Any other scenario would have split a city, either Centennial, Aurora, or Lakewood.

Population equality: my map as drawn is a little off (within +/- 400 people). It will require the Committee’s more sophisticated software to bring them down to equal numbers, but each district has areas where that can be done easily without changing the overall map.

If you like this map, please feel free to call the Redsitricting committee membes and let them know so it brings it more to their attention. As you might imagine they are being bombarded with emails so it would be easiy for them to overlook mine.


48 thoughts on “Kumbaya Committee Closer than they think

    1. It was coming up on 1 AM when I was doing the math so I didn’t bother with the clearly Dem and GOP seats.

      CD3: D-31% R-35% O-34%

      CD6: D-30% R-33% O-37%

      CD7: D-30% R-33% O-37%

      Yes, each one has a slight GOP lean, but so does the state as a whole. That has not stopped us from electing two Dem US Senators and a Dem Gov. in open seats in the past two election cycles.

      1. Sounds like they’ve been pushed further away from any semblance to “swingy”.

        Also, do we have any way to compare these districts using 2004, 2008 and 2010 voting patterns, or are those not available to us at the precinct level?  CD-7 especially looks like the type of district where independent voters might vote D more than R.

        1. I don’t have the hard numbers here (at work) with me, but can calculate them later in the week when I am home long enough to do so.

          But from eyeballing it, I would guess the numbers would actually be very similar to where they are now.

          The one time that CD4 elected a Dem is was pretty clear it was backlash against the GOP incumbent more than a desire for a Dem candidate. And I don’t know if CD2 has ever had a Republican, at least with Boulder as its population base.

          1. hasn’t had a Republican since the early 1970s, when the district was basically all of Jefferson and Boulder counties and a slice of West Denver.

            1. The SoS’s office has provided that kind of data to the Redistricitng committee. I do not know how readily available it is to the public.

              For whole counties, the info is on-line at the SoS’s website, for the counties that get split, it would be hit and miss getting it from county clerk’s offices if the SoS does not have it in a “ready for the public” format.

      2. Dan,

        What does “electing two Dem US Senators and a Dem Gov in open seats…” have to do with redistricting?  I know that you’re trying to show that the state can elect Dems.  But, that reasoning doesn’t support your redistricting map that gives R’s a lead over D’s in CD 3, 6 & 7.

        1. are the most prevalent anyway. So the way the numbers break down for registered parties doesn’t matter inside of a few points. Colorado’s unaffiliated (or affiliated with a minor party) will decide these races no matter what. Just like they did when elected our Senators and Governor.

          The whole state follows loosely along these 3, 6, & 7 numbers, whereas Denver Co. (for instance) doesn’t have any resemblance at all.

  1. better than the previous maps, R and D, that I’ve seen.  I still don’t like Western Slope counties in CD2 but I admit I don’t see very many alternatives.

      1. Grand is more closely tied to Larimer than Boulder and Gilpin – two of the other Front Range counties it borders.  That might change if Boulder, Gilpin and the U.S. government get off their butts and reopen Rollins Pass as envisioned in the James Peak Wilderness act, but right now Grand’s closest ties to the Front Range are Rocky Mountain Park and Berthoud Pass, and the latter isn’t much of a tie to bind with.

        Still, I like this map reasonably well, though it remains to be seen whether the committee will actually get around to being more agreeable with each other.

        1. It strikes me that Winter Park/Fraser/Grand Lake is a weekend suburb of Denver Metro. I would hazard that 90%+ of food and other supplies in Grand County come from Denver Metro.  

        2. but not as a paved road.  It would be cool if they used the old railroad bed and put in a new trestle.

          There are big differences between the east and west parts of Grand County.  The ranching economy has pretty much disappeared in the eastern part and been replaced with tourism.  They share in common a lot of the same concerns about forest health and wildfire dangers with communities in the Front Range Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) areas (Gilpin/Nederland/Estes).  Construction of second homes was big in Grand County and the Front Range mountains but have fallen on hard times.

          You could make an argument that Grand County is a hybrid between Front Range growth and Western Slope rural issues.

    1. Most of us just want something that makes some sense and tries to do its best for Colorado.

      Dan’s first set of maps were good – in fact, I would have loved to have seen his first maps as the actual Kumbaya moment from the committee.  This round’s not bad, either.  Obviously we’re not in the committee or the whole thing would probably be solved already.

      Of the committee maps, the Republican maps looked to aim for a strengthening of the GOP position, while the Democratic maps were too radical to be widely accepted, concentrating too much on competitiveness and not enough on “traditional” (since 1982 anyway) district lines.

      Now let’s see if the committee can get past all of that and come up with a solid compromise like the one Dan posted.

      1. Beej thinks we’re all just dark reflections of his personality. He isn’t interested in what’s fair, and can’t imagine his ideological opponents are.

        1. it’s a bit hard to believe their protestations that they’re just trying to be fair. And I know better. However, the maps presented in this article seem fair, and I find myself agreeing with Phoenix Rising.

  2. You take some of the more Democratic areas of the West Slope (Eagle, Summit and Lake) and place them in already Democratically dominated CD2.  You make Perlmutter’s district much worse that it is today.  Even though registration numbers in Coffman’s district may appear more close, they’re not really close.  Dems have run some pretty good candidates in this district over the past 30 years (Joan Fitz and several others) and they have never exceeded 40% of the vote in this district.  I’d like to see the performance numbers in these district.  I think you’ve drawn two Democratic districts and 5 Republican Distreicts.

    1. CD6 moving north and east adds some more D areas and removes the very R section JeffCo.  Dan’s map would not have included Sen. FitzGerald’s old home – she lived in JeffCo, and all of JeffCo is in CD7 under Dan’s map.

      I’d be more concerned with the proposed CD7 in this map for the same reasons – it acquires Republican territory from CD6 in exchange for friendlier shores.  The partisan registration seems close, but I’d definitely want to see vote tallies before signing off on this map out of partisan interests.

      1. In a “shoot from the hip” look at it, I think I think Hick, Udall and Bennet all did well in the area in my proposed CD7.

        I think this district (and my CD6) will encourage more middle-of-the-road candidates from both partiies. I don’t think either Perlmutter or Coffman will have any trouble holding their current districts, but the next time they are open seats it should be a real race.

  3. but they can’t seem to elect Dems in Fremont these days even though the Dem Party is much stronger there than it used to be.  I’m sure there are many, MANY Fremont Repubs who are happy to stay in CD5.

    Did Park really need to be divided?  If so, is it divided along some natural boundaries?  It’s a large conservative county with most population either in the suburban/rural area southwest of Denver, or in rather small towns scattered around the outer reaches of the county.  Just curious – and I don’t know if Park Countians would mind being split, or not.

    1. There aren’t a lot of people in the CD3 portion of the county as drawn unless I’m much mistaken.  It does have most of the water interests of the county – the reservoirs – but it’s minus the headwaters and high country wetlands.

      I don’t know if they mind being broken up or not, but you’ve identified perhaps the major community of interest breakup in Dan’s latest map.

      1. The area that is currently in CD6 identifies must more closely with the metro area. The rest is more in tune with other moutain areas.

        The divide in my map follows precinct lines and needs to be adjusted a little more for population but the program I am using is not as precise as the one the legislators use, so if they wanted to use this map, they would have to make small (less than 400 people) adjustments to the lines.

        I included Fairplay in CD7 to balance population.

    2. Obama carried Park in 08.

      I’ve always seen him as a moderate who should be able to carry more conservative neighborhoods, but I’m not so sre Park gets counted as “conservative.”

      1. 52 percent for McCain.  

        Park is very conservative — a few years ago the Dem County Coroner was convinced by the Repubs (as the story goes) to change parties from Dem to Repub.  If she didn’t they would keep running a Repub against her until she was beaten.  She changed parties.

        I believe every other county elective office is also held by a Republican.  Very tough to run for office there as a Dem — you just gotta have that R after your name.

  4. than what came out of either side of the Kumbaya committee.  It makes sense and doesn’t make radical changes to what exists now.  It probably would be too much to hope that both sides would look at this and get a clue.

  5. At this point in time, I’d look forward to the Colorado Supreme Court setting the boundaries.  I suspect they would be more inclined to follow the Republicans move for minor changes to existing districts… since it was their own work the last time.

    I attended the 6th CD hearing in Castle Rock.  No one, including those seeking more competitive districts, called for splitting Douglas County.

    The Democrats’ plan putting much of eastern rural Colorado with southwestern rural Colorado is ridiculous. Putting Grand Junction with Boulder is just plain absurd.  (Don’t Dems like Jared Polis?)  I cannot seeing the Court buying into any of the Democrats’ maps.

    1. However, all committee members seem to be touting keeping cities undivided. This is also in keeping with much of the testimony they heard all around the state.

      So the problem comes with what to do with Aurora. It is frigging huge and sprawling across 3 counties. If Aurora is united, then Douglas really can’t be (without dividing El paso).

      Douglas County’s biggest problem is they are a large county sandwiched between dense population in Arapahoe on one side and the most populous county (El Paso) on the other.

      On my map, I have attempted to keep the “suburban” population intact and grouped with other suburban areas, but have had to separate it from the rest of the county. The line is hard to see on the map because Douglas County precinct boundaries seem to defy logic, but it falls on the north side of Castle Rock so CR is in CD7 and the dense population to its north is in CD6.

      Hope that helped explain it a little.

    2. The so-called “city integrity” maps that created the southern district and a NW district and NE district probably will make it out of committee.

      I think, in the end, the map the legislature considers will have the rural areas (CD’s 2, 3, 4, 5) looking somewhat similar to they do now with a distict western district, a distict eastern plains district, and a CD that includes all of El Paso/Teller. CD2 will be a Boulder + ski area district, the unresolved question is what to do with the more urban portion of it.

      I suspect the CD’s 1,6,7 are going to end up resembling Dem proprosals more than the GOP, clumping CD7 more on the west side of denver and CD6 on the east.

      I am betting CD1 will actually be the biggest argument. Dems wants to add Greenwood Village, GOP is opposed. Bottom line, I can find no way to get the poplation right and not split cities unless GV is added. The other alternatives are to split Lakewood ot Aurora, both idea have strong opposition from those cities. But then GV also opposes being in CD1. Someone there is going to take a bullet in the name of population equality.

    3. I don’t see the Court taking either map if it gets to that point.  When it gets that close, the maps proposed to the court by the Democratic side will probably include something like Dan’s compromise map – or the Court could just make up a map.

      The Republican maps do fine on population balance, but they play unnecessary havoc with city boundaries and I think the court will consider city integrity a la Dan’s map over the GOP maps if the option is presented.

  6. Aurora “whole”. Where I live, the city boundaries look like marbled swiss cheese because of insane flagpole annexing. The newer part of Aurora is separated by several miles of E. Centennial scattered with pockets of unincorporated Arapahoe County. Unless the district boundaries look like confetti, keeping Aurora “whole” is pretty much impossible.  

    1. This is what I did in my maps so the “Swiss Cheese” nature of both cities in the internal part of the district and the outer boundaries hold them all together.

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