The final approval came after Supreme Court rejected the Colorado Reappointment Commission’s first House District plan, forcing the commission to redraw congressional district boundaries with fewer counties being divided. For Districts 58 and 59, the new boundaries are not a dramatic change from the plan that was approved in 2001. The most significant change shifts Ouray County from District 58 to District 59 and moves the northern boundary of District 59 further north into Gunnison County.
The initial House and Senate maps rejected by the court would have also made 33 of 100 districts competitive. The way the new maps are drawn 38 districts are considered to be competitive.
In report published by The Denver Post this week, fallout over the newly drawn maps has already started as two Democratic House members who had been expected to run for re-election changed their plans. Rep. Andy Kerr of Lakewood announced he would instead run for a state Senate seat while Rep. Roger Wilson of Glenwood Springs said he won’t seek reelection. These announcements, according to The Post, bring the number of incumbents who have decided to end their legislative careers because of the new maps to three. Sen. Keith King, R- Colorado Springs, and Rep. Keith Swerdfeger, R-Pueblo West, won’t seek reelection in 2012 as well.
While redistricting is having an effect on the Front Range, it seems to have little impact on the political composition of southwest Colorado’s two house districts. According to the Colorado Secretary of State, 43 percent of Ouray County’s registered and active voters are registered Republicans with 28 percent registered as Democrats. Shifting those voters to District 59 where 41 percent are registered Republicans and 30 percent Democrats, the realignment should have little effect on the political competitiveness of the district.
Losing Ouray County will likewise have little effect on the competitive nature of District 58, where 47 percent of the entire district is registered Republican compared to 24 percent registered Democrats.