Eagle County will have two representatives
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – The Colorado Supreme Court Monday affirmed a map that re-draws the state’s congressional districts. That means this part of the county now has two representatives in Congress.
The map, issued last month by Denver District Judge Robert Hyatt, is viewed as favorable to Democrats around the state, but county residents in both parties complained about splitting the county. That split covers mostly the eastern and western part of the county, but the new boundary line also splits Eagle-Vail.
While local Republicans had hoped to move the entire county into the 3rd Congressional District, now served by Cortez Republican Scott Tipton, the county’s Democrats had hoped to stay in the 2nd Congressional District, represented by Boulder Democrat Jared Polis.
But both parties now will have to essentially split their efforts between the two districts. Kaye Ferry, chairwoman of the Eagle County Republicans, said the local party will have to send two sets of delegates to the state’s party convention next year. The same is true for local Democrats.
That’s going to create some logistical problems for the parties, Ferry said, because the county will need different party officers for each district.
Eagle County Commissioner Jon Stavney said the split could also create problems for getting the county’s questions and problems properly heard in the nation’s capital.
“One of our concerns was that this creates twice as many ears we have to bend now,” Stavney said.
On the other hand, Stavney said having the county in two congressional districts could have some advantages.
“We have one foot in the Western Slope and one on the Front Range this way,” he said. Having a Western Slope-based representative could come in handy when it’s time to talk about water, Stavney said. Conversely, when it’s time to talk about tourism and travel, it could be good to have a Front Range connection.
“Those issues might not be as important in Delta or Montrose,” Stavney said.
While most voters aren’t deeply involved in party politics, many people in the county will see a change in what candidates they’re electing to office. For Eagle County Clerk and Recorder Teak Simonton, Monday’s ruling was one more part of a multi-layered puzzle.
The new congressional map, and a new map for representation in the Colorado Legislature – also being reviewed by the state’s high court – mean Simonton’s office has to come up with new precinct boundaries. But with the first county assemblies coming in January, Simonton’s staff will have to have those maps ready just after Christmas.
“It’s a lot of work,” Simonton said, adding that her office will have to depend on the county’s GIS department to put in some work over Christmas in order to be finished on time.
“But I really worry about the smaller counties,” Simonton said. “It’s going to be really hard for them.”
Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.