Routt County could move to 2nd Congressional District; commission votes Tuesday |

Routt County could move to 2nd Congressional District; commission votes Tuesday

Routt County has been grouped with other ski resort counties and Front Range cities, like Boulder, Fort Collins on latest staff map.

Colorado’s independent redistricting process is nearing a close, as the commission redrawing the state’s congressional districts — and adding a new, eighth district — needs to decide on a map to send to the Colorado Supreme Court by Tuesday.

To approve one of the nearly 20 maps that have been presented to the 12 commissioners, a supermajority of at least eight, including two of the nonpartisan appointees, need to vote in favor. A final map from the Colorado Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission is due to the court by Friday.

If commissioners fail to approve a map, the third and most recent staff plan map would be sent to the court.

This third map has evolved since the first preliminary map from the commission was released back in June that grouped Routt County similarly to how it is now, in the 3rd District with much of the Western Slope.

But in each of the three staff plans Routt County has been included with fellow ski resort counties, like Eagle, Summit and Grand, as well as large parts of Larimer and Boulder counties. The latest map puts Steamboat Springs, Vail and Breckenridge in Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District, currently represented by Democrat Joe Neguse, with cities like Fort Collins and Boulder.

Earlier maps had this district stretching across the state to the Utah border — putting the seemingly opposite communities of Craig and Boulder in the same district — but amendments on the second staff map left Moffat, Rio Blanco and Garfield counties in the proposed 3rd District.

Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert would still live within the 3rd District on this latest map, rather than being pit against Neguse in the 2nd. Notable Democratic challenger to Boebert, Democratic State Sen. Kerry Donovan, would not live in the 3rd District as drawn on the latest map.

The main change between maps two and three for the 2nd District was splitting off part of Eagle County to maintain a contiguous Roaring Fork Valley, which includes many communities between Aspen and Glenwood Springs that had been divided between districts. The map adds Clear Creek and Gilpin counties to the district to balance population.

Routt County’s placement in the 2nd District is due, in part, to a desire by the commission to keep a large portion of southern Colorado from Pueblo County to the western border in one district. A quarter of the 3rd District’s population is Hispanic.

Partisan lean and demographics of each Congressional District on third staff plan map. Source: Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission.
DistrictPartisan LeanSize of Hispanic population
1 (Denver Metro)D+57.1%27.6%
2 (Boulder, Routt)D+34.1%14.3%
3 (West Slope, South)R+9.3%25.7%
4 (Eastern Plains)R+26.6%13.5%
5 (Colorado Springs)R+20.2%17.9%
6 (South/East suburbs)D+15.3%22.1%
7 (West suburbs)D+7.0%15.1%
8 (Commerce City, Greeley)D+1.3%38.5%

If the third map is what is sent to the court, three of the districts would be solidly blue, three would be solidly red, and two would be competitive, according to results from eight statewide elections dating back to 2016, though one of the competitive districts favors Democrats by seven points. Routt County’s proposed district would favor Democrats by 34 points.

In addition to the preliminary and staff plan maps, others requested by individual commissioners, reflecting specific amendments and some submitted by the public are also being considered by the commission. The commission is scheduled to meet Monday and Tuesday.

Colorado House Maps

Routt County’s proposed State House district has looked considerably different on each of the three maps released so far by the Colorado Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission.

For the past decade, Routt County had been grouped with Eagle County, but the population did not grow as fast as the state as a whole, and data from the 2020 Census says together they are too small to make up a single House district.

The second staff map places Routt County with most of Eagle, excluding part within the Roaring Fork Valley and Moffat and Rio Blanco counties. This proposed district would be competitive, with voters favoring Democrats by a 2.7% margin in eight statewide elections since 2016.

The first staff plan map released Sept. 13 split the city of Steamboat Springs out from the rest of Routt County, grouping it with other ski resorts in Grand, Summit and Eagle County.

The commission has approved several priorities for the maps they want, one of which is to group ski resorts together where possible, recognizing the traits these communities share generate about $4.8 billion annually for the state.

The commission has also said it views rural and agricultural communities as having a shared interest that should be prioritized. Like the congressional commission, the legislative group also views the Roaring Fork Valley as a community of interest.

The new maps have 35 districts that are solidly Democratic, 21 solidly Republican and nine that are closer races, though Democrats have the edge in seven of them, based on prior election results.

Colorado Senate Maps

Routt County has been grouped with neighboring counties on each of the State Senate District maps released so far, but as the counties included has changed, so has the partisan lean of the district.

The first staff plan map released Sept. 13 has Routt in an eighth district that wraps around the Roaring Fork Valley from Clear Creek County around to Gunnison County. This district would be solidly Republican, having voted for that party by about 18% in previous elections.

But on the second staff map released Friday, the 8th District is more geographically contiguous, including much of the northwest corner of the state and several of the state’s 28 ski resorts. This new district would lean blue, with voters in previous elections favoring Democrats by 6.6%.

Sen. Bob Rankin, a Republican from Carbondale who currently represents Routt County in the State Senate, would no longer live in the district, instead being in a district that includes most of the Roaring Fork Valley and leans toward Republicans by 3.1%.

Current Routt County Rep. Dylan Roberts, of Avon, is pursuing a run for the State Senate and would live within the proposed 8th District.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.