New congressional map moves Eagle and Gypsum into Neguse’s district, receives initial approval

Map pushes more of Eagle County into the 2nd Congressional District

A new eight-district congressional map moves about 8,000 Gypsum residents into the 2nd Congressional District, which is currently represented by Rep. Joe Neguse of Lafayette.
Colorado Independent Congressional Commission/Courtesy illustration

The latest version of Colorado’s eight-district congressional map has most of Eagle County in the 2nd Congressional District in a shift away from the current alignment, which splits the county near Avon and EagleVail.

About 45,000 Eagle County residents — all of Avon, Eagle, Edwards, McCoy, Minturn, Red Cliff, Vail and Wolcott, and most of Gypsum — would be in the 2nd Congressional District under the new proposal, which received approval by the Colorado Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission on Tuesday.

About 10,000 people in the southwestern corner of the county — Basalt, Dotsero, El Jebel, 35 Gypsum residents and 2,154 people living in unincorporated areas — would be included in the 3rd Congressional District under the new proposal.

Currently, the split between 2nd and 3rd is in EagleVail, with the north side of I-70 in the 2nd and the south side in the 3rd. The western half of Eagle County is currently in the 3rd, including Edwards, Wolcott, Eagle and Gypsum.

Donovan still eyeing Boebert’s seat

In eyeing the new map this week, former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb said the redistricting appears to benefit incumbents.

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“I think, and from many I hear in the public, is they did the same thing that elected officials did: protect incumbents,” Webb told Colorado Politics. “Look at who’s protected on the Republican side: Ken Buck, Boebert, Doug Lamborn. Those are safe Republican seats. They were before, and they are after.”

Kerry Donovan, a Vail Democrat, formally announced Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, she will challenge Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert in the 2022 election, setting the stage for a nationally watched political showdown in Colorado's sprawling 3rd Congressional District.
Dave Zalubowski/AP file)

Nevertheless, Eli Rosen from Kerry Donovan’s campaign for election in the 3rd Congressional District said the Vail Democrat is still going full-on in a campaign for election in Boebert’s district. While Donovan is from Eagle County, which is even more firmly entrenched in the 2nd Congressional District under the new proposal, she spends a lot of time on her family’s ranch near Wolcott, which is currently in the 3rd Congressional District. That would change if the new congressional map is approved.

Candidates do not have to live in the district in which they run.

“Lauren Boebert’s unpopular belief in conspiracy theories, mounting ethics scandals and refusal to work for the people of the 3rd Congressional District make her uniquely vulnerable in the next election,” Rosen said. “While our team continues to analyze next steps, Kerry’s focus remains on giving the people of Western and Southern Colorado an honest, hard-working voice in Washington.”

Boebert did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Oct. 15 filing

Under a revised schedule, adopted Thursday, the Colorado Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission will follow the following deadlines:

Oct. 5: Nonpartisan staff posts the third staff plans online.

Oct. 6: Nonpartisan staff presents the third staff plans.

Oct. 12: Final day for commission to approve the final plans.

Oct. 15: Counsel prepares and files the final plans with the Colorado Supreme Court.

The Colorado Supreme Court will have until Nov. 1 to issue an opinion on the map.

To move on to the Colorado Supreme Court, the map required approval by a super majority of eight of the 12 commissioners, including at least two unaffiliated commissioners. The plan was approved by a vote of 11 in favor and 1 opposed.

Colorado gained an eighth congressional district due to population growth documented by the 2020 census.

According to the Colorado Constitution, the new congressional districts must:

  • Have equal population, justifying each variance, no matter how small, as required by the U.S. Constitution;
  • Be composed of contiguous geographic areas;
  • Comply with the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended;
  • Preserve whole communities of interest and whole political subdivisions, such as counties, cities and towns;
  • Be as compact as is reasonably possible; and
  • Thereafter, maximize the number of politically competitive districts.

Districts cannot be drawn for the purpose of:

  • Protecting incumbents or declared candidates of the U.S. House of Representatives or any political party; or
  • Denying or abridging the right of any citizen to vote on account of that person’s race or membership in a language minority group, including diluting the impact of that racial or language minority group’s electoral influence.

“The thousands of public comments from Coloradans, diligent map-making from the staff and thoughtful discussions from the commission are all what led us to this moment and it has been an honor to chair the first Colorado Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission and hope we’ve set a standard for other states to follow in the future,” said Commission Chair Carly Hare.

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