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August 23, 2011 04:47 AM UTC

Democratic Redistricting Map Makes Coffman Quite Nervous

  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE #2: By request, close-up of Larimer County after the jump below the metro Denver detail.

TUESDAY UPDATE: Bigger Democratic maps–click them to see high-resolution versions for statewide (below), and Denver metro-area detail after the jump.


Click to view higher resolution

That’s the word today as Democrats have filed their proposed congressional redistricting map in court ahead of trial in October–a map that substantially remakes Rep. Mike Coffman’s solid red congressional district into a competitive and diverse district spanning the eastern suburbs of Denver. We’ve had occasion to note in the last few days how this could be very bad for him.

Meanwhile, CD-4 is drawn to redistribute some Democratic-leaning areas into other districts, including the home of CD-4’s Democratic candidate, Colorado Senate President Brandon Shaffer. While this should put to rest once and for all the silly accusation from the GOP about the process being in any way tilted in Shaffer’s favor, as you can imagine Shaffer isn’t in fact all that pleased with this map. From his release today:

It’s impossible to predict what a court will ultimately decide, but I’m confident we’ll end up with a map that’s fair and competitive.  I believe that means Longmont will remain in the Fourth congressional district. [Pols emphasis]  

Coloradans have always wanted competitive districts that allow them to hold their representatives in Congress accountable at election time.  Competitive districts ensure we have a real voice in choosing who represents us.  Maps that overreach by creating ‘Representatives for life,’ regardless of which party designed them, go against the basic principles of our democracy…

Bottom line: Republicans have submitted their “minimum disruption” map–as reported by Lynn Bartels of the Denver paper. Where Democrats assert that five out of seven seats in their proposed map are winnable by either party, even Republicans will admit very candidly that their map will, at minimum in terms of favorability to them, preserve the current 4-3 GOP majority exactly as it is. That’s what they actually mean by “minimum disruption.” Just like during the legislative battle over redistricting, the whole notion of “competitiveness,” the theme Democrats have sounded from the beginning, just isn’t in the Republican vocabulary.

In the end, these intractable differences are why we have courts–and catchers don’t call strikes.

Click to view higher resolution

Click to view higher resolution


36 thoughts on “Democratic Redistricting Map Makes Coffman Quite Nervous

  1. I could swear I commented previously on this post, thanking Pols for giving us another look at the map and opining how, compared to the others that were floated, sensible it seems.

    If anyone finds a lost reply in one of the other threads, please take it to the customer service counter lost and found so they can call me on the PA thingy and I can pick it up and bring it back to its rightful place. Thanks.

  2. I don’t know how 4 is competitive anymore with the Dem map. I Ft. Collins even in the district anymore? I assume that the little slice of southeastern Larimer is Ft. Collins and Loveland, but looking at it on a normal map, it’s hard to tell. Loveland definitely, but I am not sure about all of Ft. Collins and without that, CD-4 is basically a strong GOP hold with the addition of Elbert and Douglas counties and the removal of Longmont.

    Even with Ft. Collins in 4, it’s hard to see how a Democrat could really win here, considering Betsy Markey only took it in a strong Dem. year in a district that was probably more competitive that what is proposed here. Plus putting the best candidate out of the district certainly puts a hamper on things.

    If this map passes, Mike Coffman’s loss is certainly Cory Gardner’s gain.  

      1. Good story today.

        Everything I see suggests that this map increases the GOP hold on CD-4 and in return makes CD-6 and CD-3 more competitive. Is that your bottom line assessment as well?

        1. Hard to judge just from looking at the map. I’d like to see the partisan splits for the districts. I’d also like to look at actual voting trends in impacted counties on 04 and 08 presidential election.

      2. Consider how different Larimer is, Pols should add that inset to this post too.

        Loveland, Windsor & Berthoud stay in CD-4.

        Fort Collins, Wellington, and Estes Park (and the rest of rural Larimer County) shifts to CD-2.  

              1. In Dougco, yours truly was feeling pretty good about maybe getting out from under Coffman’s grasp without being tossed into the Lamborn kettle.

                From my perch on this ladder CD-4 wouldn’t be so awful.

                1. And I’m thoroughly sick of being screwed.

                  I’ll be extremely happy to find myself finally in a district (Polis, here I come, honey) where I’ll finally get representation. I’ve suffered for 19 long years in CD4. But if you would like to move to CD4, God knows we could use more Democrats. We do throw pretty great parties, usually well stocked with booze. Gotta find a way to numb the pain, I guess.

  3. but still lacking in lots of ways. This one is at least tolerable.

    A note about competitiveness: this map would seems to have only 3 competitive districts: 3, 6, and 7. 1 & 2 are pretty strong D and 4 & 5 are pretty strong R. So to sell this map on the competitiveness claim is strechting it a bit thin.

    1. Chaffee County is still stuck with Lamborn for the next 10 years, or at least until he sets up a date with a male prostitute, as that is apparently the only way to effect change of anything in Colorado Springs.

      Apparently prayer doesn’t work to solve everything.

  4. Communities of interest should be a higher priority than lumping random census tracts together until you get party parity.

    Furthermore, the current 4-3 map could easily be a 3-4 map (CO-3 swing): that breakdown fairly reflects the make-up of Colorado.

    What if the Dem map prevails and one party wins all five competitive seats?  Is the other party served well?  Is it an accurate reflection of the Colorado electorate?

    I’m all for adding competitveness to the list of district criteria, but it shouldn’t be the primary driver.

    1. Wouldn’t that put Longmont into CD-2? It is in Boulder County, after all.

      And if 5 competitive seats go to one party, then maybe the loser should re-think their priorities, eh? But it doesn’t matter if it’s a reflection of the Colorado electorate as a whole. That’s what we have Senators for.

  5. there was talk of Littleton moving to 1.  Looks like we’re stuck in 6 but with a possibility of a not so deathlike grip on 6 by GOP as before. I guess that would at least make it more interesting.

  6. The more and more I look at this map, the more I feel it’s actually not all that competitive.

    Just look at the 2010 Senate results by county (

    Polis only has one county that went for Buck (Grand) and it barely did that.

    Perlmutter’s district is solidly blue now.

    Degette stays blue.

    Gardner now only has one county that voted for Bennet (Las Animas) and a tiny sliver of Larimer that I am willing to bet is more GOP leaning than the portion going to Polis.

    CD-3 is actually competitive. It’d be a bit better if Chaffee was included but I think western Eagle helps make up for it since Garfield is continually getting more and more swingy.

    And of course Coffman is competitive.

    But really only 3 and 5 are competitive. All the Dem incumbents appear to have gotten safe districts out of this. And only really two of the GOP districts remain competitive just as it was before. It’s just different ones now.  

  7. The current congressional map was drawn by the State Supreme Court ten years ago. I believe the Court will recognize it needs a trim, not a mohawk, to adjust for population shifts. The drastic changes Democrats want are issues to be debated whenever Colorado is eligible for an additional congressional seat.

    I hope the Court remembers the ridiculous maps Democrats put forth before that linked Boulder with Grand Junction, or Boulder with Douglas County. They simply have not taken this process seriously. They are trying to win in court what they cannot win at the polls.

    Democrats have thrown out the reliable benchmark of “communities of interest” in favor of “competitive” districts. The very concept of “competitive” districts is without merit. Democrats make the assumption that every registered Republican will vote only Republican, and every registered Democrat will only vote Democratic. This very notion is absurd. If it was made, on the basis of ethnicity or gender, it would be considered highly prejudicial.

    1. Would Polis or Lamborn be so self righteous and ideologically rigid if they represented a diversity of voters?

      Wouldn’t it be fun to have representatives who had to politically consider the needs of all their constituents?  Oh wait.  Obama has tried to run a centrist government and he gets abused as the nation’s whipping boy for trying to include all view points in his administrations policies.

      Less competitive and the more governmental dysfunction seems to be the order of the day and if you are a Republican then By God keep doing what we’ve been doing because today is bad and tomorrow will be worse so let’s not change anything.  Republicans are brilliant at maintaining that doing nothing will solve everything.

      1. By that, Rs usually mean restricting Dem leaning minorities to as few districts as possible, not strengthening their political voice. Competitive districts, like presidential elections, force pols to listen to the not crazy majority.

        1. The packing of minorities was a Democratic idea. It was one of the stupidest ideas ever from an electoral point of view and the Republicans have exploited expertly.  See NC new congressional maps.  From a 7-6 Dem majority in the congressional delegation to a 10-3 Republican advantage.  Gives the word “gerrymandering” a new definition.

          1. Everything you say is true.  Was just pointing out that the GOP’s embrace of the principle now isn’t concern for all comminities of interest. It’s to create and maximize the number of GOP leaning communities of interest while reducing the influence of Dem leaning minorities by sequestering as much of it as possible in the fewest number of districts so that they can hold congressional delegation and state legislature majorities more securely.  Colorado Dems’ present preference for competitiveness is an attempt to counter the GOP success you note.

            The initial impulse to create minority dominated districts was a response to previous tortured gerrymandering that diluted minority influence, particularly in southern states with large proportions of African Americans. This gerrymandering insured white domination in all districts and the correction was meant to give minorities a chance to have a voice. But, as we’re seeing, misguided correction too far in the that direction creates another type of dilution.

            At this point in our history, I support a preference for competitive districts. The extremism and gridlock engendered by safe base dominated districts is balkanizing us and killing our ability to have effective responsive government that represents the will of ordinary Americans of all races and ethnicities.

    2. RegRep writes,

      Democrats make the assumption that every registered Republican will vote only Republican, and every registered Democrat will only vote Democratic.

      No, they don’t. That is why the Dems studied very closely not just registration (including U’s, not just R’s and D’s) but voting history, precinct by precinct. You may not like that any better, but let’s be careful about assumptions.

      Also, I am confused by your claims:

      Democrats have thrown out the reliable benchmark of “communities of interest” in favor of “competitive” districts…

      This very notion is absurd. If it was made, on the basis of ethnicity or gender, it would be considered highly prejudicial.

      Ethnicity is a “commuunity of interest” (according to previous CO Supreme Court rulings). So which is it? A “reliable benchmark” or “highly prejudicial”?

      1. it means nothing to Republicans.

        The only rules they follow are the ones they create for their own agenda.  Everything else is communistic/socialism which can’t be the will of the majority.  Just ask the minority.

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