On Saturday, New Mexico House Democrats rammed through an updated U.S. House map proposal, on a vote of 44-24.
The new map skews all three districts to favor Democrats, albeit only slightly in the Third and Second Districts. District 3 represented by Democrat Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez is weakened from a D+14 to a D+5, District 2 represented by Republican Rep. Yvette Herrell is flipped from an R+14 to a D+4, and District 1 represented by Democrat Rep. Melanie Stansbury is weakened from a D+18 to a D+11.
Democrats achieved this partisan advantage by extreme gerrymandering, including chopping up communities of interest to meet its partisan agenda. The Third District snakes all the way from the northwest corner of the state down to the southeast corner of the state, including northern Hobbs, Roswell, and Lovington with places like Española and Santa Fe.
The Second District includes Albuquerque’s South Valley and many of its Republican-leaning areas have been segregated out of the district. The First District snakes down to Roswell while eating up Lincoln and Torrance Counties.
Although the Democrats may, however, have shot themselves in the foot with the passage of this partisan map, especially with 2022 expected to be a Republican blowout year and their now more vulnerable incumbent Democrats having to fend off Republican opponents who very well could flip the Third District and hold onto the Second District.
“It looks to me like the Senate plan purposefully makes the current competitive districts uncompetitive,” said Rep. Greg Nibert, R-Roswell, during a roughly three-hour floor debate on the bill Saturday. “That is not by happenstance; that is by design, and it is politically motivated.”
The governor is expected to sign the partisan map, although it may end up in the courts.