Preliminary map places all of Eagle County in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District |

Preliminary map places all of Eagle County in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District

Nonpartisan staffers Wednesday unveiled an early map proposal to the state’s new Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission

A preliminary map of Colorado’s congressional districts, including a new 8th Congressional District. This is the first draft presented by nonpartisan staff to Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission on June 23, 2021.

Eagle County for the past decade has been part of two congressional districts, the 2nd and 3rd. That may change through the work of the new Colorado Independent Redistricting Commissions.

The congressional commission staff Wednesday released a first draft of a new congressional district map for the state. The draft map drops Pueblo out of the 3rd, and adds Summit, Grand, Park Teller and Fremont counties. Summit and Grand counties, along with roughly the eastern third of Eagle County, are now in the 2nd Congressional District. That district is represented by Joe Neguse, a Boulder County Democrat.

The 3rd Congressional District is represented by Lauren Boebert, a Garfield County Republican.

During a Wednesday virtual news conference, commission legal counsel Jeremiah Berry said that the 3rd District had to become “much bigger” geographically due to population increases elsewhere in the state.

Most of that population growth was along the Interstate 25 corridor between Colorado Springs and Fort Collins. Colorado Springs grew enough that the city and its home county of El Paso is now its own district in the new draft map.

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To make the population numbers work, Pueblo County was moved into the 4th Congressional District, which represents most of the state’s eastern plains.

Jessika Shipley, the commission staff director, also added that the group had heard from mountain counties that they’d prefer to be in the same congressional district.

While the map isn’t final, it is one of three possible maps staff will create for the 12-member congressional redistricting commission. The August release of final census data will help finalize both the congressional and legislative maps.

Reacting to the current map, Eagle County Republican Party Chairwoman Kaye Ferry said she’ll be glad to have part of Eagle County out of the sway of Boulder and Larimer counties, which have most of the 2nd District’s population.

But Eagle County Commissioner Matt Scherr, a Democrat, said he’ll miss Neguse.

“He’s been extraordinary,” Scherr said. But, he added, a lot of what a congressional representative does isn’t specific to his or her district.

“It’ll be interesting to see what we lose,” Scherr said, adding that Neguse’s focus may change as the district’s geographic boundaries become more compact.

Scherr added that while Neguse would be missed, he disagrees with those who had lobbied for inclusion in the 2nd District.

“I’ve heard resort communities saying, ‘We want to be in (the more liberal-leaning 2nd District),’” Sherr said, adding that he disagrees with that philosophy.

“I don’t think we want to be split on liberal and conservative lines,” Scherr said. “Those aren’t real values; … being split by ideology is a recipe for getting more into the problem we have now.”

While Ferry welcomes a possible congressional disconnection from Boulder, she said it’s unclear what the ultimate impact might be.

“You never know how the winds are going to change,” she said.

Six facts

The Colorado Independent Redistricting Commissions were created via a pair of state constitutional amendments.

The commissions are redrawing congressional and legislative district maps.

The 12-member commissions are split equally between Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated voters. An eight-member majority is required to approve a new map. Two of those votes must come from unaffiliated members.

Colorado this year gets a new congressional district, the state’s eighth.

The first draft legislative map will be released June 29.

Public hearings will be held to discuss those maps.

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