This is my second attempt to draw Colorado with 8 Congressional Districts (as it is expected to have after the 2020 census). As with my last attempt, my goal was to shore up the Denver metro-based 6th and 7th CDs and make the west slope-based 3rd Dem leaning. I also wanted the new 8th CD to be winnable, though maybe not as Democratic as the others. This is difficult to impossible without breaking up Denver County to unpack the Democratic voters and dividing the western slope to take Republicans out of the 3rd.
I've done both in the most reasonable way I could figure out, while adjusting for 2020 population estimates (could only get to the county level unfortunately). Those estimates are available from the CO Dept. of Local Affairs.
Denver metro area
- OPEN (D) - This district is entirely different from it's previous forms. Taking in the Adams County suburbs and North/Northwest Denver, the Jeffco vs. Adams County problem is fixed. To me this district better meets COI standards than current lines. Putting this part of Denver in the district brings the Hispanic population up to 40%. At only 53% White in 2010, this district could become majority-minority by 2020. State Senator Jessie Ulibarri would find this seat favorable, combining all his Adams County base with the traditionally Hispanic portions of Denver. As you move north, the district gets more conservative, leaving the new Dem performance at 58%, down from 66%. Safe D.
CD2 (Green) - Polis (D) - As in my previous attempt, the new CD2 is stretched out from Boulder County through the conservative "production counties" on the Western Slope, ending in ruby red Mesa County. In this new version, the 2nd also takes in the foothills portion of Jefferson County, as well as Park, Clear Creek and Gilpin Counties. Broomfield, which has become a suburb of Boulder as much as Denver is kept within CD2. The addition of so much Republican turf brings this district down from 61% Obama to 57% and Dem performance from 56% to 52%. As one of the wealthiest members of Congress, I trust Jared Polis to hold this district and any generic Dem to have the advantage when he retires. Lean D.
- Tipton (R) - Democrats have been competitive in more the redder current CD3, and with the loss of the production counties and the addition of the more liberal "Ski Counties", this district goes from 48% Obama to 53% Obama! The Dem performance goes from 45% to 49%!
Scott Tipton is pretty screwed under this map with his extreme right-wingery. The only county split is Garfield, with the bluer turn around Steamboat Springs staying in the 3rd. This split actually keeps that mountain valley intact and makes more sense than following county lines. A mainstream Pueblo Democrat could definitely win here. Former State Rep. Buffie McFayden just entered the 2014 race for CD3, so if she wins she'd be totally safe under the new lines. Lean D.
CD4 (Red)- Gardner (R) - Already a Republican vote sink, this district loses Weld County and gains the Republican-leaning south Denver suburbs of Centennial, Greenwood Village, and Cherry Hills Village along with most of Littleton (except the bluer precincts). Despite the changes the district stays almost the same 41% Obama with an average Dem performance of 35%. Safe R.
Monument/Air Force Academy
- Lamborn (R) - This district takes exactly the same form it did in my first attempt. Short of awkwardly breaking El Paso to take out the Democratic precincts, pairing it with Teller County makes the most sense both in partisan and COI terms. Obama and Dem perfomrance are almost unchanged at 40% and 34% respectfully. Safe R.
CD6 (Turquoise) - DeGette (D) v. Romanoff (D)/Coffman (R) - Taking this district out of the competitive column, I drew this district to take in east/northeast Denver County while retaining all of Aurora. This part of Denver fits well with Aurora, both in terms of COI and economic activity. Drawing the district this way also greatly increases the African American/Hispanic population substantially, leaving this district barely majority White at 50.4% under the 2010 census. This district will certainly be majority-minority by 2020. CD6 becomes overwhelming Democratic at 68% Obama and 62% average Dem performance. The only potential problem is setting up an awkward primary between Andrew Romanoff (if he wins this year) and Diana DeGette, but I think she'll be done by 2020 if not before. Romanoff may also be interested in moving up to the Senate if Udall retires that year, leaving room for an African American state legislator to run (most of whom represent areas in the new district). Safe D.
CD7 (Grey) - Perlmutter (D) - Until now the 7th has maintained it's blue lean by taking in parts of Adams County instead of the redder suburban areas of Jeffco. This map eliminates that problem by brining the district into south Denver and the Dem-leaning areas of southern Arapahoe (Sheridan, Englewood and northern Littleton). While not as well placed as CD1 and CD6, this district still makes as much sense as the current CD7. The Obama and average Dem performance also go up to 58% and 52% respectfully, putting this district in the Democratic column in most cases. Ed Perlmutter may not like this configuration, but it should send him doing cart wheel on election night for as long as he runs (State Senator Andy Kerr would be a natural replacement, and he is termed out in 2020)! Lean D.
- NEW - Here the north front range finally gets it's own Congressional seat (and the return of Betsy Markey). This version is much cleaner than the last, taking in all of Larimer, all of Weld (minus Erie and surrounding turf), while adding Longmont from Boulder County. Longmont has always had more in common with it's neighbors to the north than with Boulder, and has been drawn into the same district since at least 2002. The result is a 52% Obama district with a 45% Dem performance. This is slightly more Republican than the previous version, but this area is becoming both more Democratic and Hispanic and will certainly be an even match in 2020. Voter drop off is always an issue here. Tossup.
Overall this leaves 4 Solid or Lean D districts, 2 tossups and 2 Republican seats. In a good Democratic year Democrats can achieve a 6-2 advantage, and even in a year 2010 I would expect no worse than a 5-3 breakdown.