I have noticed that there has been quite a bit of discussion here recently about the best way to redistrict Colorado. Although I am aware that mid-decade redistricting is illegal in Colorado, we can still imagine what the Democrats would be able to do if they could redraw Colorado, now that they have the trifecta. What makes Colorado even more interesting is that it will probably gain an 8th seat in 2020, so if Democrats still have the trifecta then we can see what they should do.
Colorado is actually a very enjoyable state to redistrict, because unlike in many other states, the Republicans are relatively concentrated in a few areas, while there are a lot of 55-60% Democratic areas. This makes a solid 5-2 map the way to go, and even if Colorado had 8 districts a 6-2 map is still relatively easy to draw. In these maps, all of the Democratic districts should be safe even in years like 2010.
So without further ado, let’s go over the fold and look at the maps!
Let’s begin with the 7-district map. Here is a map of the entire state:
District 2 (green): This district is a modified, and much more Democratic, version of Scott Tipton’s current district. It loses ultraconservative Mesa, Delta, and Montrose Counties to the 3rd district, and it gains the Democratic parts of Colorado Springs as well as some of the Democratic ski counties in central Colorado. The largest city here is Pueblo. This district is 70% white, 3% black, and 23% Hispanic, and it voted 57-41 for Obama in 2008. Both Tipton and his 2012 Democratic challenger, Sal Pace, live here, and without Grand Junction, Pace would easily defeat Tipton here. LIKELY D Pace vs. Tipton, SAFE D after that.
District 3 (purple): This district soaks up the remaining Republican areas in the state. It includes the rest of Douglas County and the rural eastern parts of Adams and Arapahoe Counties, then takes in most of Weld County except for Greeley, and then goes north and west along Colorado’s northern border to pick up the terrible trio of Mesa, Delta, and Montrose Counties. This district voted 61-38 for McCain, and it is 85% white, 1% black, and 10% Hispanic. Interestingly, no Republican incumbent lives here, so the Republican primary here would be interesting. Mike Coffman might run here if he thinks the 6th district is hopeless for him (which it is), but he might face a challenge from a Grand Junction Republican, or even a Weld County Republican like Ken Buck. Either way, whichever Republican wins the primary here would easily win the general. SAFE R.
District 4 (red): This district is the Boulder district, but it also contains Longmont, Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley, and Broomfield, basically taking in the Democratic areas north of Denver. The district is 81% white, 1% black, and 14% Hispanic, and voted 61-37 for Obama in 2008. Jared Polis is from Boulder, and he would cruise here. SAFE D.
District 5 (yellow): This district is a modified version of Ed Perlmutter’s district, and it has about the same partisanship as the current one. It takes in most of Adams County, and then a small chunk of Aurora, some of the more conservative areas of Jefferson County (including Perlmutter’s hometown of Golden), Republican Park County, and the heavily Democratic Louisville/Lafayette area in Boulder County. This district is 68% white, 3% black, and 24% Hispanic, and voted 58-40 for Obama in 2008. Perlmutter would be safe here. SAFE D.
District 6 (teal): This district takes in the inner suburbs to the west, south, and east of Denver. It contains Lakewood, Englewood, most of Littleton and Centennial, and a lot of Aurora. The district is 71% white, 7% black, and 15% Hispanic. Mike Coffman lives here (in Aurora), but seeing as he only won by 1% in a district that voted 54-45 for Obama in 2008, while this district voted 57-41 for Obama in 2008, he would lose here. Joe Miklosi could hold down this district for as long as he wanted. LIKELY D Coffman vs. Miklosi, SAFE D after that.
District 7 (gray): This district contains all of the city of Denver, and then takes in some more conservative areas of Jefferson and Arapahoe Counties, including Ken Caryl/Columbine, Cherry Hills Village, and Greenwood Village. The district is 63% white, 8% black, and 24% Hispanic, and it voted 69-29 for Obama in 2008. Diana DeGette would be completely safe here. SAFE D.
So this map would provide a pretty solid 5-2 Democratic congressional delegation in pretty much all years. Which is far better than the 4-3 Republican delegation Colorado currently sends to the House.
Now, let’s take a look at the 8-district map. Here is a map of the whole state:
District 2 (green): This district is a modified version of Scott Tipton’s current district, and is similar to the 2nd district in the 7-district map. This district doesn’t take in as many Democratic ski counties as the other 2nd district, and so it’s not quite so Democratic, but it still loses the terrible trio and gains the Democratic parts of Colorado Springs. The district is 68% white, 3% black, and 24% Hispanic, and voted 56-43 for Obama in 2008. Sal Pace should still be able to take out Tipton here, especially because Pueblo has an even bigger influence on this district than on the other 2nd. LEAN/LIKELY D Pace vs. Tipton, LIKELY D after that.
District 3 (purple): This is the new district. It contains many Democratic-leaning areas north of Denver, including Fort Collins, Loveland, Longmont, Greeley, and the heavily-Democratic Louisville/Lafayette area. The district is 79% white, 1% black, and 16% Hispanic, and voted 56-42 for Obama in 2008. No incumbent lives here, but both ex-Rep. Betsy Markey (D-Fort Collins) and former State Senate President and losing CO-4 candidate Brandon Shaffer (D-Longmont) would be strong candidates for our side. As a side thought, wouldn’t it be hilarious if Ken Buck was the Republican nominee here? LIKELY D Markey or Shaffer vs. Generic R, SAFE D Markey or Shaffer vs. Buck.
District 4 (red): This district contains Boulder, some heavily-Democratic ski counties, and then some moderate/conservative suburbs of Denver, including Broomfield, Brighton, the western half of Arvada, and Ken Caryl/Columbine. The district is 84% white, 1% black, and 11% Hispanic, and it voted 60-39 for Obama in 2008. This is Jared Polis’s district, and it has about the same partisanship as his current district. Therefore, since he won easily this year, I’d say this district is SAFE D.
District 5 (yellow): This district in central Colorado is the other Republican district. It contains some of Douglas County, all of Teller, Fremont, and Custer Counties, and most of Park County, but most of its population is in El Paso County, in and around Colorado Springs. The district is 82% white, 4% black, and 9% Hispanic, and voted 63-36 for McCain. Doug Lamborn would romp in both the primary and the general elections here. SAFE R.
District 6 (teal): This district contains most of the city of Denver (all except its northeastern tail) and then takes in conservative areas in Arapahoe County (the two Villages) and Douglas County (Highlands Ranch). The district is 65% white, 7% black, and 22% Hispanic, and voted 70-29 for Obama in 2008. Diana DeGette is completely safe here. SAFE D.
District 7 (gray): This district takes in the southern and eastern suburbs of Denver, including Englewood, Littleton, Centennial, and Aurora. It also contains the heavily Democratic northeastern tail of Denver. This district is 60% white, 12% black, and 20% Hispanic, and voted 59-39 for Obama in 2008. Mike Coffman lives here, but he could never win here. In fact, Mike Coffman is triply screwed under this map, since he could never win the 7th, and both the 1st and 5th already have Republican incumbents. Joe Miklosi or any other Democrat in the area could hold down this district with ease. SAFE D.
District 8 (slate blue): This district contains Denver’s inner suburbs to the north and west, including Thornton, most of Westminster and Arvada, and Lakewood. The district is 69% white, 1% black, and 25% Hispanic, and voted 59-39 for Obama in 2008. Ed Perlmutter lives here, and would easily win here. SAFE D.
So there you have it. A solid 6-2 map that could be easily adjusted for population movements in 2021. If the Democrats still have the trifecta in 2021, they should draw a map like this.
Any thoughts, questions, or ideas would be greatly appreciated.