On Tuesday, the Albuquerque Journal stunned with a rare criticism of scandal-ridden alleged serial groper Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for her and Democrats’ partisan closed-door special session that essentially threw out all the work of the Citizens Redistricting Committee to draw fair maps.
The Journal’s editorial board, which noted how the piece represents the paper, wrote, “Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham owes retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Edward Chavez and retired Court of Appeals Chief Judge Roderick Kennedy an explanation — if not an apology.”
It noted how Chavez and Kennedy oversaw a 25-member redistricting task force. Legislators had the opportunity to pass fair maps that represented New Mexican communities of interest and keep communities together so they could be well represented.
“Legislators instead passed a gerrymandered bill with congressional boundaries that split Albuquerque, Roswell and Hobbs for naked political gain,” wrote the editorial board.
It was noted how Albuquerque’s South Valley was plunged into the Second District, Roswell was now included in the First District, and Hobbs was chopped in half to be part of the northern Third District.
“So much for keeping like-minded communities together, prioritizing communities of interest, protecting marginalized groups, avoiding court intervention, and not favoring anyone, specifically political parties or incumbents.”
The editorial added:
And, Egolf lived up to low expectations. It wasn’t enough for him that Democrats have super-majorities in both houses of the state Legislature, hold every state office from governor to state treasurer and occupy both U.S. Senate and two of the state’s three congressional seats. He and other Democrats wanted it all and took it at the expense of conservative and rural voters.
Then, the governor joined the gerrymandering circus and cemented these congressional boundaries for the next decade.
“It is my duty to ratify the will of the majority here, which I believe has established a reasonable baseline for competitive federal elections, in which no one party or candidate may claim any undue advantage,” the governor said. Yet, the maps carve the Republican-dominated oil patch into three districts, dilute the rural vote and shift even more political power to central New Mexico. No “undue advantage?”
Lujan Grisham had an opportunity to be a true leader and represent the whole state regarding redistricting but instead yielded to political temptations. For that she owes Chavez, Kennedy, task force and committee members and every New Mexican now lumped into a district that disenfranchises their community interests a real explanation, not a party-scripted response.
Now, as Republicans and New Mexico Open Elections contemplate a lawsuit to buck the gerrymandered congressional and legislative maps, it is unclear what their fate will be, especially as the state Supreme Court is stacked against any opposition due to a majority of justices being Lujan Grisham appointees.