13 December 2011

Colorado General Assembly Districts Final

The first time the Blue Ribbon Commission that draws the state house and state senate districts in Colorado proposed a map to the Colorado Supreme Court, the Republicans complained that city boundaries and county lines were too often ignored in favor of factors that the commission wasn't required to consider. The Colorado Supreme Court agreed, but the Republicans paid dearly for their impertinence. A new map was approved, without any Republican support, that left many incumbent Republican legislators in the same districts with each other (another factor outside the scope of official consideration), while being more favorable to Democrats, overall, than the first map, even though it was more respectful of city and county lines. The Colorado Supreme Court approved the new map over Republican objections on Monday.

Democrats have already secured Colorado Supreme Court approval for the judge drawn Congressional District map that makes incumbent Republican Congressman Mike Coffman in the 6th Congressional District (once one of the safest in the state) much more vulnerable, at the cost of making the 4th Congressional District, which already has an incumbent Republican as well, safer.

Thus, Democrats are the clear winners in the battle to redistrict the state following the 2010 Census in time for the 2012 election. Redistricting has made the likelihood that Democratics will increase the number of Congressional seats they hold in Colorado much greater, has improved the odds that Democrats will be able to wrest control of the state house from Republicans who currently hold a once seat advantage there (a seat itself won by a narrow margin at the height of the Tea Party political surge), and has improved the odds that the Democrats will be able to hold the state senate. Democrats are also in a better position to pick up seats on the state school board and University of Colorado Regents whose districts coincide with the state's Congressional districts, although neither body is very powerful.

Election officials, armed with the legislative district boundaries for 2012 can now start drawing up precinct boundaries. School board, city council and special district seat boundaries also have to be redrawn based on census data, but historically, that has been a comparatively low profile event.

Colorado's Democratic Governor and Lieutenant Governor, Republican Secretary of State, Republican Attorney General, and Republican State Treasurer don't face state voters until 2014, and neither of Colorado's U.S. Senators are up for re-election in 2012 either.

Republicans will have a Presidential caucus in February, but the Democratic counterpart to that event, assuming that there will be one, will be an uncontested lovefest for President Obama who is currently favored in polling of likely Colorado voters over each of his likely GOP opponents, something boosted by his withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, a sucessful and concluded military intervention in Libya, his reduction in our troop forces in Afghanistan, his successful assassination of Osama bin Laden, and a U.S. economy that while tepid is starting to recover and looks better than the economies of our international trading partners. Given the unimpressive set of potential nominees, Republicans have a grim task ahead of them. The front runner in terms of fund raising and endorsements, Mitt Romney, has failed to excite grass roots Republicans whose support is needed in the primary and caucus process. Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Herman Cain have successively imploded. Newt Gingrinchs campaign collapsed this summer, but someone resurrected itself when all the more charismatic candidates crashed and burned. Ron Paul, Rick Santorum and Huntsman, all of whom have languisted among the also rans for the entire campaign, are now getting sniffs of interest, probably too late to matter, as the GOP activists are reminds of his inadequacies and character flaws, although Newt seems to have picked up most of the pro-adultery vote after Herman Cain dropped out. As of the most recent poll, Colorado voters favored Gingrich, but those preferences have proving exceedingly volatile in the last several months.

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