November 29, 2011
A new reapportionment map that redraws state legislative districts was adopted Tuesday by the state reapportionment commission, and if ratified by the state Supreme Court, it would create two primaries between El Paso County Republican legislators in next year’s election.
House Majority Leader Amy Stephens, R-Monument, would face off against Rep. Marsha Looper, R-Calhan, and Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs, would have to run against Sen. Keith King, R-Colorado Springs.
Colorado Springs Republicans blasted the map as “blatantly partisan.”
“This is the most unbelievable exercise I’ve ever seen in my 12 years in the Legislature,” said Sen. King. “This is the ugly side of partisan politics.”
Majority Leader Stephens called the map a “political fiasco.”
“We don’t have any historic precedence for this. That’s why it’s so egregious,” said Stephens.
Stephens also may have reason to worry. Rep. Looper made it clear Tuesday afternoon that she has zero intention of backing down. Just hours after the commission approved the map, Looper issued a statement declaring her run for re-election.
“This is my district,” she said pointedly. “I’m very effective, and I plan on continuing to represent the people here.”
Commission member Sen. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, said the Republicans should “quit whining.”
Carroll also said the final map also pairs several incumbent Democrats in the same districts. Democratic Sens. Joyce Foster and Pat Steadman of Denver would share a district in the map. Democratic state Reps. Andy Kerr and Max Tyler would share a district with Republican Rep. Ken Summers. All three of them are from Lakewood.
“We’re hearing from our side on this, too,” said Carroll. “That tells you something.”
The court has already rejected one map by the commission, and could send this one back as well.
But Colorado College political science Professor Bob Loevy, one of the commission’s Republican members, said the map was a “done deal.” The Democrats’ map meets all of the standards issued by the state Supreme Court, and so there’s no reason to think the court won’t approve it, Loevy said.
“That was the most skillful part of the strategy that was used against Republicans. That can’t be appealed,” said Loevy.
“So all we can do is say, ‘Gosh, that was a nasty thing to do.’”
Contact John Schroyer: 476-4825
Facebook Gazette John Schroyer