Politics

Did Lauren Boebert Win Colorado Redistricting?

A portrait of Representative Lauren Boebert and a photo from her Twitter feed of a cap paying tribute to Donald Trump.
A portrait of Representative Lauren Boebert and a photo from her Twitter feed of a cap paying tribute to Donald Trump. Lauren Boebert Twitter
On November 1, the Colorado Supreme Court gave its blessing to the state congressional map created by the Colorado Independent Redistricting Committees that includes a new eighth district that's been the focus of considerable controversy. But the real winner of this political power struggle may be Representative Lauren Boebert, whose odds of being re-elected in 2022 are now significantly enhanced.

Why? Her 3rd Congressional District leans even more Republican — and the redrawn district excludes the home of state senator Kerry Donovan, the best-known declared opponent for her seat.

The plan behind the Colorado Independent Redistricting Committees, approved by state voters in 2018, is designed to be nonpartisan. But organizations such as All On the Line, an affiliate of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, argued that the committees' blueprint for the 8th Congressional District, which stretches from the northern part of metro Denver up to Greeley, undermines the interests of the area's Latinx community.

"The lack of consideration of minority electoral influence — which is protected in the state constitution — and the mis-prioritization of competitiveness over keeping communities of interest whole resulted in abuse of discretion in drawing the lines of the 8th congressional district," Marco Dorado, Colorado's All On the Line director, stated last month. "The commission relied on a flawed legal understanding of both the minority electoral influence and competitiveness provisions of the state constitution that resulted in an 8th Congressional District that doesn’t actually create meaningful opportunity for Latinos to influence an election. Therefore, the state Supreme Court should direct the commission to re-evaluate the boundaries of the 8th Congressional District."

The Colorado Supreme Court didn't buy this argument, yet Dorado's comments on its November 1 announcement were far more conciliatory. "All On the Line commends the hard work and transparency put into Colorado’s redistricting process, ultimately culminating in a map that will properly serve voters for the next decade. The commission managed an independent process that actively engaged the public and incorporated input from communities across the state," he stated, adding that Colorado's redistricting process "should stand as a model worthy of emulation in other states. The independent, citizen-led map drawing process has resulted in a map that reflects the growth and diversity of our state."

Donovan wasn't so polite. In early October, when the committees submitted the map to the court for approval, she suspended fundraising because neither her hometown of Vail nor her ranch in nearby Wolcott were in the proposed 3rd Congressional District. Although a Colorado congressional candidate does not have to live in the district in which she's running, it definitely helps.
click to enlarge The final approved Colorado Congressional map. - COLORADO INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING COMMITTEES
The final approved Colorado Congressional map.
On November 1, Donovan released this statement: "Unfortunately, the congressional maps that the Redistricting Commission submitted are a disservice to Coloradans and fail to follow the will of the voters. Make no mistake, these maps throw Coloradans’ voices — especially Latino and folks in rural Colorado — by the wayside, making districts less competitive, protecting incumbents, and splitting communities of interest. The people of the 3rd Congressional District deserve effective, selfless leadership, and simply put, Lauren Boebert is not providing it. Lauren Boebert continues to divide, not unite, spread conspiracy theories, not facts, and work for herself, not her community."

Another Boebert challenger, Debby Burnett, tweeted a similar take: "I am still running for Congress to put your concerns on the map. The race against Lauren Boebert will be tough. But rural Coloradans know that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. And we are just getting going."

Booting Boebert won't be easy, though. The Colorado Sun estimates that the incumbent will have a 9.3 point advantage over a Democratic opponent based on previous election results.

For her part, Boebert hasn't weighed in on the redistricting decision, possibly because she's been too busy dropping "Let's Go Brandon" into random messages. Westword has reached out to her re-election campaign; we'll update this post if we get a response.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts