Amid a whirlwind of political pressure from leading Democratic operatives ranking as high as Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Chairman of the Reapportionment Commission Mario Carrera knuckled. Despite being described primarily by his political registration, Unaffiliated, his political tendencies were far from objective when push came to shove. In passing Carrera’s state House and Senate maps yesterday, the Reapportionment Commission ultimately did the bidding of Democrat operatives, not voters seeking “competitive” districts.
Our sources say he got beat up high and low. Mario showed some signs of being a true deal maker after Wellington Webb played the race card and falsely accused him and the GOP of racist motives, but ultimately Mario fell in line like a partisan lap dog.
Despite the media reports emanating out of yesterday’s meeting, the maps approved are far from fairly competitive maps drawn by a non-partisan, objective deal maker. Carrera may be registered as an Unaffiliated voter now, but he was originally a Democrat and clearly felt the pressure from that side of the political divide, according to our sources.
We warned this was coming last week when we said Mario’s maps missed the mark. One man should never have had the power to be the deciding vote on the maps as well as be the author of those maps.
When Carrera sprung the maps on the Commission late last week we knew something was up. After reviewing them, our sources quickly realized they were not the grand compromise they were heralded as, but rather a partisan play at the last possible moment.
As we also warned, the definition of “competitiveness” used by the Commission was a shoddy one. While redistricting used a number of election cycles to determine competitiveness, the only one the Reapportionment Commission kept coming back to was the Treasurer and CU Regent races in 2010. Using a GOP high water mark was always going to skew the results heavily and that’s exactly what happened.
Taking a look at the only district with two incumbents who plan on running for re-election — the House district in Lakewood with Democrat Andy Kerr and Republican Ken Summers — the false promise of “competitiveness” becomes clear. Despite calling it a “competitive” seat, in 2010 Cary Kennedy won it 54-46 and Michael Bennet took it 52-42. In 2008, Mark Udall took it by almost 19 points. That’s not what we define as “competitive.”
Or how about the Broomfield district currently held by Don Beezley that was decided by only a couple hundred votes in 2010? That district has now been gerrymandered to become one where Cary Kennedy won by nearly 8 points, Michael Bennet by 10 and Mark Udall by a whopping 20 points.
These, folks, are not “competitive” districts. They are little, ten-year presents wrapped up in bows for the Democrats care of “Super Mario” Carrera.
In a clear sign something was up, there was not a single Democrat who voted against either the state House or Senate maps. Even the amiable Rob Witwer was so opposed to Carrera’s poorly drawn districts in his House map that he voted in opposition.
Ultimately, the protest votes of some GOP Commissioners didn’t matter. Carrera caved to liberal pressure and the state will lose because of it.
We suggest those members of the media so impressed by Carrera dig beyond the headlines and look at the games played behind the scenes. Carrera caved. Why he did should be an important story.