New congressional map splits Eagle County in two
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – King Solomon never actually bisected that baby. But, if a Denver district judge’s decision holds, Eagle County for the next decade will be in two congressional districts.
Judge Robert Hyatt on Thursday issued a ruling on a map that re-draws the state’s congressional districts. Many Fort Collins residents are likely upset they’ve been moved from the 4th District to the 2nd – a set now held by Democrat Jared Polis of Boulder.
Polis also now represents Eagle County. He’ll continue to represent part of the county if Hyatt’s decision holds. But more than half of the county will fall into the Third Congressional District, now represented by Republican Scott Tipton of Cortez.
Kaye Ferry, chairwoman of the county’s Republican Party, said Hyatt puts Eagle County into a bad spot.
“They’ve changed our senate district, put us into two (state) house districts and now we’re in two congressional districts,” Ferry said. “Why do you do that to a county this size?”
Ferry and other county Republicans lobbied earlier this year to have Eagle County moved from the 2nd District into the 3rd. That would have put the county into a “community of interest” with the rest of the Western Slope.
Splitting the county, though, means its federal representatives might have different positions about issues that affect local residents. For instance, Tipton and Polis have taken markedly different positions about creating new wilderness areas.
If the county stays split, it will also complicate party politics, for both major parties.
Ferry, who lives in Vail, said she won’t be able to hold an official position in anything having to do with the 3rd District, since she’s a resident of the 2nd. The same holds true for local Democrats.
Carole Onderdonk, former chairwoman of the county’s Democratic Party, said splitting the county stinks, although she didn’t say “stinks.”
And, while she’s not the party chair any more, Onderdonk said she’d encourage local Democrats to join in an appeal of Hyatt’s decision to the Colorado Supreme Court.
As of Friday, state Republicans hadn’t yet decided whether to pursue that appeal.
Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.