NM lawmakers OK new congressional map - Albuquerque Journal

NM lawmakers OK new congressional map

Shawn Marmash works as a crossing guard at Avenida Cesar Chavez and Edith Boulevard SE in Albuquerque on Wednesday. If a proposed plan for redistricting passes, Edith will be the district line between 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – A congressional map that splits Albuquerque and reshapes the political landscape in New Mexico won final approval Saturday from state lawmakers.

The proposal, Senate Bill 1, cleared the state House on an 44-24 vote and now heads to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat and former congresswoman.

It would create three Democratic-leaning congressional districts – up from just two now.

But the margins wouldn’t be guaranteed. An election forecasting site described two of the three proposed seats as highly competitive.

“We are trying to give voters a choice – a real choice, particularly in this environment where the country is so polarized,” state Rep. Daymon Ely, D-Corrales, said Saturday during a three-hour debate at the Capitol.

Republicans, in turn, slammed the proposal as a blatant attempt to dilute the voting strength of rural communities. The conservative stronghold of southeastern New Mexico would be broken into all three districts, rather than unified under one member of Congress.

“I see this map as an assault on rural New Mexico, particularly agricultural areas,” Republican state Rep. Greg Nibert of Roswell said.

Similar debates are playing out in capitals across the country as states reapportion their political districts to reflect new census data.

In New Mexico, this year’s special session is the first time in 30 years that Democrats have controlled both chambers of the Legislature and the Governor’s Office during a redistricting year. The map in place now was designed in court and keeps Albuquerque concentrated in one district rather than split between two as proposed.

State Rep. Georgene Louis, an Albuquerque Democrat and co-sponsor of the bill, said the proposed map ensures all of the state’s representatives in Congress have to answer to a diverse set of constituents.

“We’re making these districts really listen to the voices of both the urban and the rural,” she said.

The map, she said, also adjusts some boundaries to reflect the wishes of Native American tribes. Louis is a member of Acoma Pueblo.

The proposal passed largely along party lines in both chambers of the Legislature. Every Republican who voted opposed it. One Democrat, Rep. Candie Sweetser of Deming, crossed party lines to vote no.

For Albuquerque, much of the West Side, South Valley and parts of the Barelas neighborhood would move into the 2nd Congressional District, which is otherwise rooted in southern New Mexico.

The 1st Congressional District would continue to cover most of Albuquerque and the East Mountains. But under the proposal, it would also take in most of Rio Rancho and cover a host of rural counties, stretching southeast to pick up part of Roswell.

The 3rd Congressional District would continue to cover Farmington and Santa Fe. It would also reach into the oil patch and cover part of Hobbs.

The proposal, of course, would have political consequences. Under the plan:

⋄ The 1st Congressional District now held by Democrat Melanie Stansbury of Albuquerque would cover precincts that have leaned about 7 percentage points toward Democrats in elections, based on an analysis of voting trends over the last 10 years by Research & Polling Inc., the state’s redistricting contractor.

The political performance, for example, is estimated at 53.5% Democratic and 46.5% Republican.

The election forecasting website FiveThirtyEight.com – owned by ABC News – rates the proposed district as Democratic-leaning, based on its own analysis.

⋄ The 2nd Congressional District now held by Republican Yvette Herrell of Alamogordo would have a 6 percentage point Democratic lean, according to the Research & Polling analysis of past elections.

FiveThirtyEight.com rated the proposed district as highly competitive.

⋄ The 3rd Congressional District now held by Democrat Teresa Leger Fernandez of Santa Fe would have a 12 point Democratic lean, according to the Research & Polling analysis.

FiveThirtyEight.com, however, rated the proposed district as highly competitive.

Home » ABQnews Seeker » NM lawmakers OK new congressional map


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Emptying the Notebook: House showing growth
ABQnews Seeker
More notes, quotes, stats and analysis ... More notes, quotes, stats and analysis from Saturday's Lobo game, including how Jaelen House's game continues to grow this season.
2
WIPP begins filling new disposal area
ABQnews Seeker
New area consists of seven separate ... New area consists of seven separate rooms for placing special boxes and barrels
3
City, UNM hope to reduce live animal testing
ABQnews Seeker
City Council OKs plan to reuse ... City Council OKs plan to reuse normally-discarded animal tissue for research
4
ABQ native son, Navy vice admiral was at Pentagon ...
ABQnews Seeker
John Mateczun maintained strong ties to ... John Mateczun maintained strong ties to New Mexico
5
Acequias face challenges, uncertain future
ABQnews Seeker
Fire, flood damage to NM irrigation ... Fire, flood damage to NM irrigation ditches threaten a way of life
6
Pretty or not, Lobos improve to 5-0
ABQnews Seeker
UNM's defense was on point Saturday ... UNM's defense was on point Saturday night and a strong second half led the Lobos to their first 5-0 start since the 2012-13 season. ...
7
New venture plans to launch technological revolution in ...
ABQnews Seeker
AFF, America's Frontier Fund, aims to ... AFF, America's Frontier Fund, aims to rebuild US technological lead
8
Judge, pets killed by husband in murder-suicide
ABQnews Seeker
Diane Albert, resident of Los Ranchos, ... Diane Albert, resident of Los Ranchos, mourned by officials and friends
9
Buffalo 'walk in two worlds' – the ...
ABQnews Seeker
Some 82 tribes across the U.S. ... Some 82 tribes across the U.S. now have more than 20,000 bison in 65 herds