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After finishing our first election after redistricting, it's time to start thinking about how we're going to draw congressional lines after the 2020 census!  Colorado is expected to grow by over 900k and gain an 8th congressional district.

My goal was to make the new 8th winnable while also keeping the 3rd, 6th and 7th competitive (and improve them if possible).  I also wanted to keep the lines reasonable since this is Colorado and we don't do well with over reach.  Because splitting Denver County is a no-no (sad face) the best way to achieve all of this was unpacking the 2nd as Democrats tried to do early on during this round of redistricting.

Population estimates are available at the CO Dept. of Local Affairs.  I may have been a little off at the city level, but won't make a big difference in the performance.




CD1 - DeGette (D) - This Denver-based district shrinks thanks to the additional seat so Englewood, Cherry Hills Village and Sheridan were dropped and only a portion of Littleton/Ken Caryl in Jeffco was left in the 1st.  That area was split up 3 ways into the 1st, 2nd and 4th to dilute the influence of Jeffco's most Republican area.  This district actually gets bluer going from 70% Obama (08) under the current lines to 73% and 66% Dem Performance to 69%.  Safe D.


CD2 - Polis (D) - Jared Polis will not be happy with this district, but as one of the wealthiest members of Congress I'm trusting in his ability to handle whatever should come along.  To unpack this district, the ski counties of Eagle and Summit are dropped along with Clear Creek, Gilpin and Broomfield.  In their place the 2nd is stretched west into through Jackson, Routt, Moffat, Rio Blanco, Garfield, Mesa and Delta and then south into the dreaded Ken Caryl/Littleton area.  The addition of so much Republican turf brings this district down from 61% Obama to 56% and Dem performance from 56% to 52%.  The Golden/Applewood area and some of Lakewood are also added to the 2nd.  Boulder County keeps this district leaning Democratic even if Polis were to retire.  Lean D.

CD3 - Tipton (R) - I love how this one turned out.  Scott Tipton is pretty screwed under this map with his extreme right-wingery.  Democrats have been competitive in more the conservative version of this district and with the loss of the production counties and the addition of the ski towns and the western half of the old 5th, this district goes from 48% Obama to 53% Obama!*  The Dem performance goes from 45% to 49%!  And all of this without splitting a single county.  This district is very much a tossup if not slightly Dem-leaning now.  Tossup.

*If you're curious, Obama won the new 3rd this year 51%-47%

CD4 - Gardner (R) - This district became even more of a Republican vote sink.  Along with adding the rest of Douglas County and taking out Greeley and Erire in Weld, the blood red northern towns in El Paso County were added.  To shore up the 6th, 7th and new 8th, the exurbs in Adams County were also added.  This district drops from 42% Obama to 38% and sees it's Dem performance drop another 3 points to 33%.  Safe R.


CD5 - Lamborn (R) - The population growth projected in El Paso County doesn't leave us with many options.  There is no way folks in Pueblo would accept any of El Paso County being in the same district, so instead it was contained.  Teller County was kept whole whole and the excess El Paso County towns to the north went to the 4th.  Obama and Dem performance are almost totally unchanged at 40% and 34% respectfully.  Safe R.  

CD6 - Coffman (R) - A major disappointment this year, Coffman actually lost the Arapahoe portion of the current 6th, but killed Miklosi 2-1 in Douglas County.  So to solve this problem, Douglas County was taken out entirely and Englewood, Sheridan and Cherry Hills Village, were added.  This district was also able to shrink so the Todd Creek area in Adams was given to the 4th, leaving Brighton.  The result is a 2% improvement, bringing Obama performance to 56% and Dem performance to 49%.  Miklosi may have actually pulled it off in this district.  Tossup.


CD7 - Perlmutter (D) - I tried not to make the 7th too red while carving out these other competitive districts.  Fortunately, with the district allowed to shrink some, I was mostly able to keep the Adams County portion the same while letting Golden/Applewood and south-west Lakewood go to the 2nd.  The result was actually a slight improvement with Obama percentage going from 57% to 58% and Dem performance also jumping a point to 52%.  The one drawback is Perlmutter's home is drawn out, but I don't expect him to be running for re-election in 2022.  (Both folks I expect to run when he retires are still in the district).  Lean D.


CD8 - NEW - With this map Fort Collins finally gets a district centered around it along with Greeley and Longmont.  This area is definitely a community of interest and with the addition of Erie and Broomfield, definitely winnable by Democrats.  The district stays away from the worst parts of Weld, picking up Greeley and Windsor and going into Weld again only to grab the Erie/Dacono area.  The result is a 54% Obama district and 47% Dem performance.  This is actually almost exactly the same performance as the current 6th.  We have a much stronger bench in this area than the Republicans who have found every loon in a 30 mile radius to run for office here. Tossup.

Overall this leaves 3 Solid or Lean D districts, 3 tossups and 2 Republican seats.  In a good year Democrats will achieve a 6-2 advantage and even in a year like 2010 we should only fall to 4-4 or 3-5 at the worst.  This time we just have to keep the trifecta going into 2021!

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Comment Preferences

  •  Nice effort (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Thinking Fella, ColoTim, pistolSO

    I didn't think Miklosi ran a strong enough campaign against Coffman, I think a better public speaker might have pulled it off. I hope someone nails that faux-reasonable Republican in 2014.

    Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

    by blue aardvark on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 02:09:22 PM PST

    •  Miklosi came very, very close (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue aardvark, James Allen

      He wasn't that close on Election Night, but look at the final margin. That was a really tight race that could have gone Miklosi's way with more outside spending and attention. The DCCC took risks that didn't pay off -- which is going to happen, naturally, but all the same -- in districts like FL-02 and WI-07 that were just a bridge too far. If those resources had gone toward districts like CO-06 (which did receive investment but was not highly touted) and NE-02, we might have flipped those seats. But of course, you aren't going to bat 1.000 ever on all the seats you target.

      Keeper of the DKE glossary. Priceless: worth a lot; not for sale.

      by SaoMagnifico on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 12:59:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  From CO-3 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue aardvark, mrkvica

    we did well County-wise last election, with a clean sweep of local County offices and did ok State wide & for Obama. (Buh bye, J. Paul Brown. Peddle your Kenyan usurper crap to your sheep...)

    Why we couldn't rid ourselves of Teabaggin Scott Tipton confounds me. If we could dump J. Paul, why not Tipton? Too many Agenda 21!/Chemtrailzzz/Soshulism voters I guess. I'll have to settle for bothering Tipton's staff by phone for another 2 yrs. Yuck.

    "The better I know people, the more I like my dog."

    by Thinking Fella on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 02:09:56 PM PST

  •  Bullshit... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue aardvark

    Don't take Broomfield out of a safe D district and put it into tossup status.

    'Goodwill' between the GOP and the President is as abundant as unicorn farts - Me'

    by RichM on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 02:13:41 PM PST

  •  nice effort (4+ / 0-)

    I think Polis will be fine in your CO-02. Folks in Mesa county will be far angrier than Polis will be with the configuration.

    If it allows, make CO-01 a tad redder by going into very red parts of Douglas County. CO-01 can take the hit and this will improve Dem performance in CO-06.

    Finally, while you keep 2020 population changes in mind, also keep in mind where the Hispanic growth in CO is now and how that'll trend by 2020. Because of this growth, CO-3 and CO-6 might even both be Lean D by then (certainly in presidential years, although Dems will always suffer with lower Hispanic turnout in off-years).

    •  Yeah, adding Grand Junction to CO-02 is rich (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      given its reputation for social conservatism. They'll love having a gay Congressman...

      Male, 22, -4.75/-6.92, born and raised TN-05, now WI-02. "You're damn right we're making a difference!" - Senator-Elect Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin)

      by fearlessfred14 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 03:54:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  CO-5 will never change unless and until (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue aardvark, a2nite

    viable, well-funded Dems take a shot at Lamborn. The guy is a disgrace, and he's vulnerable; more to the point, those of us who live in his district feel like the red-headed stepchildren of the Democratic party. If our party doesn't call him out on his bullshit - like his swearing fealty to the military while voting against their interests - who will? If not now, when?

    "Do your little bit of good where you are; it is those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world." ~ Desmond Tutu

    by KelleyRN2 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 02:35:32 PM PST

    •  In 2008... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      James Allen, blue aardvark, FG

      In a wave election, Hal Bidlack, who is a decorated Air Force Vet and has experience at the national level, lost by over 20 points.  If someone like that can't beat a POS like Lamborn, no Dem can.

      'Goodwill' between the GOP and the President is as abundant as unicorn farts - Me'

      by RichM on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 02:42:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Is he as bad as Musgrave? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      If so, it might be conceivably possible to beat him under ideal circumstances. More realistically, we should have someone at least respectable do a suicide run against him and publicize how much of a wingnut he is. That way, he can at least be used for fundraising the way the Minnesota DFL uses Bachmann, and particularly for shoring up local parties in his district.

      Male, 22, -4.75/-6.92, born and raised TN-05, now WI-02. "You're damn right we're making a difference!" - Senator-Elect Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin)

      by fearlessfred14 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 03:52:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He's proud of this: (0+ / 0-)
        Congressman Lamborn has been named the Most Conservative Member of Congress by the National Journal in 2009, 2010, and 2011.

        If it's impossible to find someone to run against him, there should at least be a PAC willing to fact check the lies he tells every two years. Or to highlight his voting record. I call his office frequently and remind them that Grover Norquist doesn't vote in this district, but that's almost a waste of time.


        "Do your little bit of good where you are; it is those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world." ~ Desmond Tutu

        by KelleyRN2 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 05:26:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe... (0+ / 0-)

        But his district is far to the right of Musgrave's old district.  Obama got 49% in CD4 when Musgrave was defeated, he only received 40% in CD5 and the Democrat was defeated by a similar margin that year.

    •  Lamborn could potentially be made vulnerable (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      if his district was returned to the original CO-3 that was in place for 40 years. It contained the SE Corner of the state. Under my map it would be scaled down with the western, spanish speaking counties removed, but with the northern blood-red part of El Paso removed. It would be down to about 52% McCain. Still an R+6 district, but there are a lot of dem legislators in that district.

      RRH expat (known as AquarianLeft). Also known as freepcrusher on leip atlas forum

      by demographicarmageddon on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 05:48:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nice to have these rundowns of Colorado (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks for the work.  I had hoped Miklosi could win but Coffman started early and was warm and fuzzy with his intro ad and that allowed him to define himself before Miklosi could remind people Coffman supported the baggers and birthers.

  •  I'm curious about something. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    davybaby, pistolSO, James Allen

    You say that "There is no way folks in Pueblo would accept any of El Paso County being in the same district."

    Why not?

    For the 5th to be a true Republican vote sink, all the Democratic areas must be taken out. Including central Colorado Springs. And yes, this part would be in the same district as Pueblo. But this part would not outvote Pueblo, even though I don't see why that's even an issue because both areas are relatively Democratic.

    Bottom line is: we can't sacrifice what would be a very effective gerrymander just because of the whims of one city that's less than 1/4 of a district anyway.

    (-8.38, -4.72), CT-02 (home), new ME-01 (college) "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." -Spock

    by ProudNewEnglander on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 03:59:44 PM PST

    •  Looking at recent redistricting fights... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Even when one party controlled, parochial concerns often took center stage.  In Colorado, El Paso vs. Pueblo & the Arkansas Valley is a big thing and you wouldn't get away with putting them together.  

      Although... Democrats initial map introduced in 2011 included both Pueblo and parts of El Paso County...  So maybe I'm wrong, it's also a very ugly thing to try and would be a total over-reach in a swing state.

      •  Yes I was just going to bring that up (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        the initial Dem map did just that, unifying Colorado Springs (but not greater El Paso County) with Pueblo.  It would have been a pretty solid Dem district, combined with the loss of Grand Junction.  Furthermore, the loss of Colorado Springs from the El Paso district allows that strongly GOP district to make up the population elsewhere, such as Douglas County and the rural counties to the east.  Quite simply, breaking El Paso County is a requirement of any good Dem map.

        Parochial concerns cannot be ignored, but ultimately state legislators can pass whatever they want if they have the trifecta (as long as it is legal and constitutional), and no one has been defeated for re-election in a hundred years because residents disliked the map drawn.  People forget about gerrymandering by the time the election rolls around and they vote on the same issues they always do.  There are no electoral consequences to gerrymandering, only benefits to those who draw the lines.  And we shouldn't even feel bad considering how many more states the GOP has rigged, even blue states.

        •  3rd wasn't blue (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Under that map the 3rd was pretty much unwinnable.  I'll see what it would be like with 8 CDs though...

          •  You are correct (0+ / 0-)

            I had mis-remembered the details of the map.

            This is the map I was thinking of, the one listed as "City Integrity 1".  It was the first Dem proposal, and I remember it splitting El Paso County.  But instead of attaching the blue parts of Colorado Springs to CO-03, it instead looks like they left Colorado Springs in the blood-red CO-05 and instead just put the rest of El Paso County (which is insanely conservative) in with CO-03, making it unwinnable despite the removal of Grand Junction.

            A Dem gerrymander must instead attach Colorado Springs to CO-03, and leave the rest of El Paso County in CO-05.  But then again, the Democrats weren't proposing outright gerrymanders this time since they knew the courts would decide.

            I've started working on an 8-district map, and by doing that (and attaching liberal ski counties and removing Grand Junction) I've been able to get CO-03 up to about 54% Obama, 44% McCain by 2008 numbers.  McCain won the current version 50% to 48%, so that would be a change of 12 net points, which would have sent Sal Pace to Congress.

  •  I appreciate your effort (0+ / 0-)

    But I just hate the way you've over-packed Democrats into CO-01 when there is no VRA reason to do so. Why not make both CO-01 and CO-06 each half urban and half suburban?

    •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

      I've done maps in the past that split Denver in 2 CDs, but it's generally considered a no-no even among Democrats, so I don't think they'd even try it with the trifecta.  

      •  True, that is a harder sell (0+ / 0-)

        but I think as long as the bulk of Denver is in one district (no bacon-mandering strips of Denver out everywhere), legislators could be convinced to push it through.  For instance, the arm that goes up to the airport could be instead attached to the Aurora district.  Montbello and Green Valley Ranch (the two towns in question that lie between the airport and the main square of Denver) could be drawn in with Aurora and the map would actually look even better, just from a geometric perspective.  You could even argue that those two towns make more sense being outside of the Denver district, given their distance and relative separation, being cut off by the I-70.

        Ultimately I think Rep. DeGette (or whoever is in that seat in 10 years) would be okay with losing a tiny bit of Denver that isn't even particularly central to the district, as long as the district stays strongly Democratic and urban.  CO-01 wouldn't even need to take in parts of Douglas County or anything silly like that, just by eating more of Centennial and Littleton the map would be improved greatly.

  •  I went ahead and tried to tweak your map (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    cracking Colorado Springs out of El Paso County and into CO-03, which allows CO-02 to come down further into the ski counties.  The two GOP vote sinks can then eat further into the red parts of Jefferson and Arapahoe to make up population.  I also split out the airport arm of CO-01, allowing it to go into Littleton, and CO-06 gets the areas around the airport.  Overall, my map looks very similar to yours, but there's improvements here and there:

    CO-01: 71% Obama, 67% Dem
    CO-02: 56% Obama, 52% Dem
    CO-03: 54% Obama, 50% Dem
    CO-04: 39% Obama, 33% Dem
    CO-05: 38% Obama, 34% Dem
    CO-06: 59% Obama, 52% Dem
    CO-07: 58% Obama, 52% Dem
    CO-08: 55% Obama, 49% Dem

    I think the net effect of these changes would be to push CO-06 to Likely Dem, and there could be a good argument for calling CO-03 and CO-08 Lean Dem (though I would rate them as such on your map too).

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