Democrats have been taking an absolute shellacking in the editorial pages of papers across this great state for the past couple of weeks. But it just got a lot worse today. The Pueblo Chieftain AND the Grand Junction Sentinel came out in support of the Republican redistricting map.
From the Chieftain:
The Colorado Legislature finally has a congressional redistricting map that recognizes traditional communities of interest and keeps the 3rd Congressional District virtually intact.
The proposal, House Bill 1319 by Rep. David Balmer, R-Centennial, and Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, is the best redistricting map yet to surface this year. Its first committee hearing is set for 2 p.m. today.
HB1319 respects most of the existing boundaries of Colorado's seven congressional districts. We see it as superior to any other redistricting map this legislative session.
And from the Sentinel:
We hope that when the House Redistricting Committee holds a hearing later today on the Republican plan for creating new Colorado congressional districts, a few Democrats will support the plan. Not that we think the latest GOP plan is perfect. But it is far better than the Senate Democratic plan unveiled last week, which amounts to a raised middle finger aimed at the Western Slope, Eastern Plains and the bulk of rural Colorado.
And now the Southern Colorado advocacy group, Action 22, has sent out an email urging support of the Republican map over the Democrat one (after the jump)
Looking closely at the newly revised map of [Democrat map] SB 268, it appears the majority of Congressional Delegation can be voted in from the Denver Metropolitan Area. It would be very difficult to have anyone from rural Colorado win a Congressional seat. We take this as an attack on rural Colorado which has a right to representation. It also places El Paso County with the Eastern Plains which extremely mixes communities of interest.
[Republican map] HB 1319 respects the majority of existing boundaries of Colorado's seven congressional districts. It meets with Action 22's request maintaining the integrity of the current congressional districts involving the Action 22 territory — Congressional Districts 3, 4, and 5.
…As our elected Legislative Representatives, you have the duty to set up the congressional districts. We would hate to see it go into court as it did 10 years ago.
We urge you to select the map proposed in HB 1319 and discard the map in SB 268.
That puts ENORMOUS pressure on lawmakers representing the circulation area of the Chieftain and Sentinel to get their act together and push their leadership to back off their ridiculous demands and give in to the Republican route on redistricting.
We can think of a few Democrats who fit that description.
To make matters worse, the current Democrat "compromise" map touches the third rail of Southern Colorado politics: Pinon Canyon.
Sal Pace, Mark Udall and John Hickenlooper have all come out against expansion of Pinon Canyon, yet their party's map puts the proposed Pinon Canyon expansion area in with military heavy El Paso County.
Hickenlooper: "With the way (the expansion) was presented, I'm a 'No.' Unless there is a deal embraced by the residents of Southeastern Colorado that they feel is better for their community, it's hard for me to support it."
Sal Pace: "[I] ha[ve] been a leader fighting against the Army’s proposed expansion of Pinon Canyon, which would devastate the regional agricultural economy."
Mark Udall: "[Udall] believes that the ranchers and landowners of Southeastern Colorado — not the Army — should determine what happens to their land.”
Now I guess we get to find out how serious these Democrats were. The Peak doesn't have a position on the expansion one way or the other, but we know that it is impossible to take the side of Southeastern Colorado ranchers while slamming them into the same district as Congressman Doug Lamborn, who is unabashed in taking the military's side.
So what say you Hick and Udall, Pace and the rest who have taken up arms with those rural ranchers? What is more important, partisanship or the fate of that region?
It's pretty clear to us and anyone who thinks Democrats care about an electoral future in rural Colorado that they have no choice but to go into full retreat mode and back the Republican demand of protecting rural Colorado.