A year-long battle between Colorado Democrats and Republicans ended Thursday when Denver District Judge Robert Hyatt sided with a proposed Democratic map that redraws congressional district lines in the state, Fox31 reports. The decision will alter the political landscape in Colorado for the next 10 years.
Hyatt, in describing why he chose the "Moreno/South" Democratic map, told The Denver Post that it "most accurately reflected and preserved current communities of interest in 2011. The Moreno approach will also produce the maximum amount of competition of any of the realistically proffered maps in at least three districts -- the 3rd, the 6th, and the 7th."
The Denver Post put together a clear graphic representation of the current and proposed district boundaries, click here to view.
The new map is seen as a blow to the Colorado GOP, especially with regard to the state's 6th Congressional District which has been a safe seat for Repuplicans for decades, according to 7News. The ruling makes U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman's suburban Denver district more Democratic by including all of Aurora, the state's third largest city. Hyatt also said that it makes three districts, the 3rd, the 7th, as well as the 6th, more competitive with a relatively even split among Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated voters.
Hyatt told CBSDenver that the Republican maps were "flawed and fail to consider communities of interest." But the judge also understood that his ruling would not make everyone happy, saying "redrawing any district lines necessarily means disappointing citizens and interest groups no matter how those lines are drawn." Mark Grueskin, an attorney representing the Democrats in the process, said he expects Hyatt's decision is likely to be appealed but called the ruling "sound and extremely defensible."
Congressional boundaries are redrawn every 10 years by the state legislature to accurately reflect population changes, but when the 2011 legislature failed to agree on new district lines this spring both political parties filed lawsuits, 9News reports.