NM's GOP files lawsuit over new congressional map - Albuquerque Journal

NM’s GOP files lawsuit over new congressional map

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – With control of the U.S. House at stake in November, the New Mexico Republican Party filed a lawsuit in state court Friday over a new congressional map signed into law last month by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

The lawsuit, also filed by seven other plaintiffs, argues the Democratic-backed map redrawing the boundaries of New Mexico’s three congressional districts for the next decade intentionally chops up Republican voting strongholds.

Specifically, the suit claims the boundaries violate redistricting principles established by the Legislature and previous court rulings to accomplish a “political gerrymander” that dilutes the votes of southeast New Mexico residents to obtain a partisan advantage.

It was filed in the state’s 5th District Court in Lea County by a legal team that has also been involved with redistricting litigation in Colorado.

“The Democrats’ cynical attempt to consolidate their power by abusing the redistricting process in New Mexico is illegal and wrong,” state GOP Chairman Steve Pearce, a former congressman, said in a statement Friday.

The new congressional map, which is set to take effect in March, was passed by lawmakers on largely party-line votes during a special session last month at the Roundhouse, with majority Democrats voting in favor.

The map splits Albuquerque into two districts and moves some of southeast New Mexico, which traditionally skews conservative, into congressional districts now represented by U.S. Reps. Melanie Stansbury and Teresa Leger Fernandez, both Democrats.

As a result, the 2nd Congressional District seat held by U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell, the lone Republican member of New Mexico’s congressional delegation, would become more Democratic.

Herrell, who is seeking reelection this year, has also described the map as an example of gerrymandering and said it shows Democrats’ desperation to “try to save Nancy Pelosi’s majority,” a reference to the current U.S. House speaker.

However, Democratic backers of the redrawn map have described it as a legally sound approach to setting congressional district boundaries that ensures each of the state’s three districts includes both rural and urban areas.

Several immigrant advocacy groups have also expressed support for the map, saying it will provide fairer representation for Latino and immigrant communities, especially those who work in oil fields and other jobs in southeast New Mexico.

After signing the map into law, Lujan Grisham said it represents “a reasonable baseline for competitive federal elections, in which no one party or candidate may claim any undue advantage.”

The GOP-backed lawsuit disputes that claim.

It asks a judge to strike down the new boundaries and replace them with a map proposed by the Citizen Redistricting Committee, a group created last year to come up with recommendations for lawmakers.

“Now, New Mexico’s congressional map is a hopelessly partisan map that casts aside traditional redistricting principles to ensure a Democratic sweep through the dilution of votes,” the 28-page lawsuit says.

In addition to the state Republican Party, the other plaintiffs in the lawsuit include state Sen. David Gallegos, R-Eunice; former state House candidate Dinah Vargas of Albuquerque; and ex-Senate President Pro Tem Tim Jennings, a Roswell Democrat who was ousted from the Senate in 2012 after serving for 34 years.

The listed defendants in the case include Lujan Grisham, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, Lt. Gov. Howie Morales and top-ranking Democratic lawmakers in the state House and Senate.

Meanwhile, last year’s special session marked the first time in 30 years that Democrats controlled both chambers of the Legislature and the Governor’s Office during a redistricting year.

Lawmakers are authorized under the state Constitution to redraw political boundary lines once every decade based on population changes.

New Mexico had a population of slightly more than 2.1 million people, according 2020 census data. Thus, the target population for each of the state’s three congressional districts is roughly 705,000 residents.

Home » ABQnews Seeker » NM’s GOP files lawsuit over 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

Two Democrats vie for District 1 Bernalillo County Commission ...
2022 election
Primary winner will take on uncontested ... Primary winner will take on uncontested Republican
Lewis moves to correct Planned Parenthood vote
ABQnews Seeker
Initial vote for $250K in allocation ... Initial vote for $250K in allocation of city budget was in error, councilor says
State removes breakthrough case data from COVID reports
ABQnews Seeker
Move comes as vaccinated people comprise ... Move comes as vaccinated people comprise greater share of infections
ABQ resident donates grand piano to Easter Island
ABQnews Seeker
Loralee Cooley gifts her beloved Steinway ... Loralee Cooley gifts her beloved Steinway to the School of Music and Arts of Rapa Nui
NM again deadliest state for pedestrians
ABQnews Seeker
24% increase in 2021 edges Florida's ... 24% increase in 2021 edges Florida's No. 2 ranking
Favorable weather aids wildfire crews
ABQnews Seeker
Higher humidity, lower temperatures arrive, containment ... Higher humidity, lower temperatures arrive, containment steady at 40%
Buffalo shooting victim laid to rest; city marks 1 ...
ABQnews Seeker
Roberta Drury, a 32-year-old woman who ... Roberta Drury, a 32-year-old woman who was the youngest of the 10 Black people killed at a Buffalo supermarket, was remembered at her funeral ...
US, SKorea open to expanded military drills to deter ...
ABQnews Seeker
U.S. President Joe Biden and South ... U.S. President Joe Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said after meeting Saturday that they will consider expanded joint military exercises to ...
Former Ohio prisons chief top contender to run US ...
ABQnews Seeker
The former director of the Ohio ... The former director of the Ohio state prison system has emerged as a leading contender to run the crisis-plagued federal Bureau of Prisons, three ...