The Dumbassery Continues for GOP Redistricting Consultants

Last week we discussed the story of the bumbling Republican “consultants” working to influence the drawing of new Congressional and legislative district maps through the Colorado Independent Redistricting Commissions. Through a series of bad decisions and “don’t say that out loud” moments, Republicans gave an already-jittery nonpartisan redistricting staff plenty of reason to question the impartiality of certain communities and organizations trying to influence the final map-making process.

Together, these four stooges — former House Speaker Frank McNulty, former State Sen. Greg Brophy, Republican consultant Alan Philp, and State Rep. Matt Soper — shone a spotlight on blatant Republican interference in the redistricting process. As we wrote on August 25:

All of this partisan posturing from Republicans will likely (and rightly) cause both nonpartisan staff and commissioners to worry about the appearance of being inappropriately swayed by undisclosed Republican lobbying efforts.

If the commission is worried about the appearance of partisan influence from Republicans, then they are likely to give extra scrutiny to any map boundaries that might so much as appear to be advantageous to the GOP. This, of course, is the exact opposite outcome from what Republicans were hoping to achieve in this process.

Now that you’re caught up, let’s look at how things just got even worse for Philp and the gang. As Evan Wyloge reports for The Colorado Springs Gazette, the fumbling and bumbling continues:

Days after a formal complaint accused a secretly funded nonprofit organization of violating redistricting lobbying disclosure laws, a video recording obtained by The Gazette reveals the same group helped craft maps proposed by the prominent Colorado Farm Bureau, contradicting what the Farm Bureau’s president told the state’s redistricting commissioners. [Pols emphasis]

The Farm Bureau president Carlyle Currier told the state’s independent redistricting commissioners on Aug. 19 that he was there to present his organization’s map proposal, which aligned with their advocacy for “the interests of farmers, ranchers and real Colorado.” And he told the commissioners that his submission came solely from his group: “I want to note that these maps were created by our staff, and only myself and our vice president have reviewed them.”

Alan Philp

But in a video training recorded two days earlier on Aug. 17 for a group of Pueblo County Republicans, Colorado Neighborhood Coalition’s registered lobbyist Alan Philp presented a map that he said in the video he expected would be presented at the Pueblo hearing, two days later.

“This is a map of Southern Colorado that is probably similar to one that you’ll see on Friday that is being proposed by someone,” Philp said in the video training. “I don’t know that he has agreed to do it yet, so I’m not going to share his name, but it keeps Pueblo County whole, and then the rest of Southern Colorado — east of the San Juans and Wolf Creek Pass, the San Luis Valley, Fremont, into the lower Ark — makes for a perfect Southern Colorado district. So that’s kind of what we’re hoping it ends up as.”

Philp and the Colorado Farm Bureau’s president have since told The Gazette that Philp was referencing the Colorado Farm Bureau’s map proposals, and that Philp helped the group draw the maps, which was previously not publicly disclosed by either group. [Pols emphasis]

In short, the Colorado Farm Bureau presented maps to the redistricting commissions that were supposed to only represent Farm Bureau interests but were actually another example of partisan plans sketched out by Republican consultants. And as Philp acknowledged to The Gazette, there are plenty more examples of this partisan coordination:

Philp said he’s helped others draw maps, including maps he said he doesn’t like, but he said it would be inappropriate to provide a list of all the groups or individuals he’s worked with. [Pols emphasis]

D’oh! 

Usually this sort of slow drip of negative news is something that you would try to engineer AGAINST a political opponent in order to inflict maximum damage. We can’t recall a recent example of a partisan campaign or group doing this to itself.

The Colorado Independent Redistricting Commissions are expected to release new draft maps over the course of the next two weeks.

8 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. MichaelBowman says:

    Our state’s agricultural sector represents 2.1% of the state’s GDP.  Our rural landscape and our residents are a part of the Colorado fabric that makes this state special, but to self-described ourselves as the real Colorado does none of us any favors.  We’re interdependent, not independent.  We’re no more real than an urban family contributing to other sectors of our economy and we’d wither away without the urban demand to consume our products.

    I wish our leaders would commit to a different narrative. 

    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

      Meanwhile, "back at the ranch," I continue to get all my electricity through Xcel Energy's Windsource program. Costs me a few extra dollars per month, but that part of my household energy requirements is fully Green in nature.

      Any of you ranchers out on the Eastern Plains object to a traditional conservative like me buying my power from you? Didn't think so.

      • MichaelBowman says:

        Thank you. On a side note, if our rugged, boot-strappin’, mandate-hatin’ rural leaders had their way we wouldn’t have this multi-billion enterprise on the eastern plains. If they’d been astute enough to work with enviros at that time our rural electrics could have owned a good portion of these installations so every co-op member in rural CO could have benefitted from these investments. 

  2. Dano says:

    I have been following the Congressional process very closely (not so much the legislative districts) and have to say that any money spent trying to influence these folks is wasted.

    There are partisan folks on the Commission who show their partisan colors, but the majority of the commission just pats them on the head and returns to looking at the maps with mostly non-partisan eyes. 

    The subcommittee which is digesting and evaluating all the maps submitted by the public, as well as those proposed by other Commission members, are taking an almost painstaking approach to ensure fairness. I've been very impressed with their devotion to nonpartisanship, even if they do tend to beat dead horses for large parts of their meetings. When they look at a map, they look at just the map, not what entity submitted it or what their motivations might be.

    • JohnInDenver says:

      The one decision to disappoint me that I've read from the Congressional committee is the choice to NOT "end prison gerrymandering and … “count” people in prison for purposes of redistricting at their home community, not the community where they are incarcerated."  With only 8 districts and thus larger populations, it won't make as much difference — but those 16,000 plus people ought to be a part of their communities.  They are not a part of the community of imprisonment, where neither they or their family and friends vote.

      • kwtree says:

        A counter argument, John…the ICE facility in Aurora is a Federal facility, which  houses at least 150 immigrants detained for crossing the border illegally. As these people are processed for asylum or deported to their communities, they often need wrap around social services – housing, mental health care, legal help – in order to restart their lives and reunite with their families. Casa de Paz is one nonprofit that provides these services, but they cannot keep up with the needs.

        It seems reasonable to me to count detained immigrants in to the communities where they are incarcerated, as funds are allocated on the basis of population and of need. Colorado has around 2,000 immigrants incarcerated for the misdemeanor crime of being in the country without documents.

        This also applies to citizen prisoners, who need extensive help to assimilate back into society.

  3. Highlands Ranch says:

    Yeah.  That's a pretty difficult task, however, on the federal level.  The feds bring quite a lot of people from out of state to incarcerate at the federal facilities in Canon City, Lakewood, et al.  If Colorado didn't count them, they wouldn't be counted unless every other state was reciprocating.  So it gives a bit of a "leg up" to rural areas like in Canon City.  But it would be like unilaterally disarming if others did not reciprocate.  And also more likely than not result in the people not be counted anywhere.

  4. MichaelBowman says:

    Larry Curly Moe Shemp's congitations on Afghanistan, the 2020 election, a insurrection protest that got out of hand, and voting rights:

    Brophy: Focus on taking back House, Senate in 2022

    “The whole country is seeing this and I think hanging their head in shame,” Brophy said. “They may be starting to ask themselves if they made a mistake in electing [President] Joe Biden.”

    In reflecting upon the the early moments of 2021, Brophy said the FBI has determined Jan. 6 not to be “some sort of insurrection, but rather a protest that got out of hand.”

    “We need to continue to support every effort toward every vote counting,” Brophy said. “We need to make it both easy to vote and hard to cheat.”

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