The Colorado Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling Monday siding with Democratic-drawn congressional maps that give the party a chance to unseat Republican Rep. Mike Coffman.
The court said a written opinion would come later. The ruling upholding Denver District Judge Robert Hyatt’s decision changes Coffman’s district by moving Republican-leaning portions of Douglas County into the Eastern Plains seat held by Republican Rep. Corey Gardner. The map also puts the city of Aurora entirely in Coffman’s seat, instead of being split between two districts.
The GOP has held Coffman’s 6th District since it was created after the 1980 census.
Republicans argued the Democratic map made unreasonable changes to make more races competitive. Republican attorney Richard Westfall did not immediately comment on the ruling.
Democratic attorney Mark Grueskin said he hoped the court’s decision sent a message to other states working on redistricting that members of Congress can be held accountable in their districts.
“This is an incredibly important day for Colorado and, hopefully, the country. This map was all about accountability,” Grueskin said.
The map also acknowledged the demographic changes of the state over the past 10 years, he said. Republicans had argued for minimal changes to the current congressional lines, which must be redrawn every decade to account for population shifts.
Hyatt said in his ruling that the map proposed by Democrats best reflected changes to demographics and communities of interest. Douglas County shares common interests with counties in the 4th District experiencing drought conditions and an expansion of oil and gas development, he said.
The map makes three districts competitive, with each nearly evenly split among Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated voters. Those districts are the 3rd, 6th and 7th.