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Colorado Supreme Court approves new congressional map

Scott Franz
Capitol Coverage
An American flag glows at sunset on top of the U.S. Capitol in December, 2017.

Calling it a "watershed moment," the Colorado Supreme Court on Monday unanimously approved new congressional district boundaries for Colorado that were drawn for the first time by an independent commission instead of the state legislature.

"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 12 ordinary voters representing the diversity of our state," Justice Monica Marquez wrote in the court's opinion approving the map. "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."

The court rejected legal arguments made by Democrats and some Latino groups that the map's boundaries were drawn unfairly.

Courtesy/Colorado Supreme Court
The new district boundaries will be in place for a decade.

Under the new map, Democrats and Republicans are each favored to win three seats each in 2022, with the remaining two projected to be tossups.

The brand new eighth congressional House district will stretch from Greeley down to north Denver.

This district, which Colorado is gaining because of its growing population in the latest census count, will be almost 40% Hispanic and is projected to be the most competitive district in the upcoming 2022 election.

View an interactive map by clicking here.

An independent commission, which had equal representation from Republican, Democratic and unaffiliated voters, spent hundreds of hours coming up with the new boundaries.

"Receiving this approval from the Colorado Supreme Court reaffirms that this new redistricting process is a successful model that should set the standard for the rest of the country,” said Jessika Shipley, staff director of the Colorado Independent Redistricting Commissions, in a written statement. “It took a lot of patience, dedication, and thoughtfulness from the commissioners, staff, and the public and we look forward to seeing how the new congressional districts bring positive support and representation to the people of Colorado.”

Other highlights from the approved map include:

  • Moving Jackson and Routt counties from the 3rd District to the 2nd District, which would stretch from northwest Colorado to Boulder County.
  • Keeping the state’s seven U.S. House incumbents living in their respective districts.

The map now heads to the Secretary of State and will be used in Congressional elections for the next decade.
The Colorado Supreme Court is still reviewing separate maps for the state's legislative districts.

It has until Nov. 15 to rule on those boundaries.

Scott Franz is an Investigative Reporter with KUNC.