(The quiet part, except out loud – Promoted by Colorado Pols)
Last month, Colorado Politics’ Evan Wyloge broke the story of Rep. Matt Soper’s redistricting presentation, in which the legislator provided local Republican party officers and activists with alternate maps and testimony intended to keep him and at least one of his Western Slope colleagues in their current districts. Wyloge’s story and subsequent reporting covered Soper’s request to his audience that they never mention that he was the one providing their talking points, as well as his frustration with the consultants running the Colorado Neighborhood Coalition, the conservative lobbying group that he said was hired by the Colorado House & Senate Republicans. CNC lobbyist Alan Philp denied that claim and Soper retracted that statement, saying he was mistaken.
The Colorado Times Recorder has obtained video of Soper’s nearly hour-long July 18 presentation. It’s split into three videos. (Part 1, is here, Part 2 & Part 3 are embedded below within the full transcript.)
Hosted by longtime Aspen conservative activist Maurice Emmer, the virtual meeting also included Mesa County GOP Chair Kevin McCarney, Pitkin County GOP Vice Chair Frieda Wallison, and election fraud conspiracist Sherronna Bishop, who formerly served as Congresswoman Lauren Boebert’s campaign manager.
Two previously unreported sections are noteworthy, including Soper’s comments about specific commission members and his belief that the preliminary legislative map drawn by the commission’s nonpartisan staff was “gerrymandered” to favor Democrats.
Soper expressed concerns with four members of the state legislative commission: two Democrats from Steamboat and Aspen, and two recent CU Boulder graduates, one Republican and one Unaffiliated, whom he describes as “relatively new to the state.”
“What really concerns me is the two members on the legislative redistricting commission,” said Soper. “One is from Steamboat Springs, one is from Aspen; both are the two Democrats or I should say, two of the Democrats on the committee. We also have two recent graduates from CU Boulder who came out of different states. They’re relatively new to the state. One is a Republican, one is unaffiliated. This is also a bit concerning to me because they don’t necessarily know the history of the state or the geography or the culture. I’m going to emphasize geography and culture quite a bit in this presentation because the commission does not want to hear about we’ve we’ve always done it this way, so therefore we should continue to do it this way. I find that a persuasive argument that’s probably from being a lawyer in my background before I became a legislator.”
Robin Schepper of Steamboat and Blanca Uzeta O’Leary of Aspen are the first two members Soper flagged as problematic. His concerns are presumably based upon the fact that both members from CD3 are ski town Democrats. The Commission’s make-up was determined by a complex set of rules prioritizing geographic, congressional district, and partisan considerations following a lottery from a pool of self-selected applicants- i.e. people had to sign up in the first place.