Steamboat Springs Once again, a change to the Colorado House of Representatives map is impacting Rep. Randy Baumgardner.
The Colorado Supreme Court approved new state House and Senate district maps Monday, the second version of the changes suggested by the Colorado Reapportionment Commission. The first versions were returned to the commission by the Supreme Court in November because they split too many counties into separate districts.
Baumgardner, a Hot Sulphur Springs Republican, has represented House District 57, which includes Routt County, for two terms. In the rejected first version of the new House map, Grand County was moved out of the district and into the proposed H.D. 63.
At the time, Baumgardner leased a ranch in Jackson County — which would have allowed him to seek re-election for H.D. 57 — for reasons he said had nothing to do with the district boundary changes.
After it was kicked back to the Reapportionment Commission, the map changed again, and it now includes Routt and Eagle counties as the new H.D. 26. Grand and Jackson counties would join H.D. 13 along with parts of Boulder and Gilpin counties.
Republicans across the state are critical of the new House and Senate districts. The Reapportionment Commission approved the maps in a 6-5 partisan vote.
“The new maps that were resubmitted after the original maps, I didn’t think were fair,” Routt County Republican Central Committee Chairman Chuck McConnell said Tuesday. “The fact that the Supreme Court approved them was a large disappointment.”
The second version of the Senate District map changed slightly from the first, but it won’t affect Senate District 8, which includes Routt County. Jean White, a Hayden Republican, represents the district.
Baumgardner also said he was disappointed with the new House map. He said the changes split up Northwest Colorado, which could impact the interests of residents in this part of the state. But Baumgardner, who hasn’t made a decision whether to seek a seat in H.D. 13, said the new map wouldn’t deter him from doing his job.
“While I’m disappointed in the maps, I will focus my efforts on serving the people in House District 57 for as long as I’m there,” he said Tuesday.
The new districts will take effect with the 2012 election. Redistricting is required by law after each decennial census so that House and Senate districts reflect population changes.
Routt County Democratic Party Chairwoman Catherine Carson said being paired with Eagle County was a good thing. She said Routt and Eagle share similar characteristics, such as being resort communities.
And Carson added that the new H.D. 26 reduced the disparity between Republicans and Democrats to make the number of registered voters in each party nearly identical, according to 2010 numbers. H.D. 57 historically has held a wide Republican majority.
“It’s definitely a more competitive district, but I think if you look at all the House districts, they’re all more competitive,” she said. “It gives us a broader voice statewide. Eagle and Routt are such similar counties. It’s a good combination for our house district.”
Eagle County is currently part of H.D. 56, which includes Summit County and is represented by Dillon Democrat Millie Hamner.
Both Carson and McConnell said their parties would work to identify strong candidates to run in 2012, but they weren’t prepared to provide any names of potential candidates Tuesday.
To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com