Over the past few days, New Mexicans have read unconfirmed reports claiming Concept H, a heavily gerrymandered map, is the alleged frontrunner in the redistricting process. The congressional map designed by the leftist Center for Civic Policy would throw the South Valley of Albuquerque into the southern Second Congressional District and have the First District move all the way down to Roswell in Chaves County. The Third District would move from Hobbs all the way north, putting astronomically differing southern and northern communities together in one district.
With the far-left group’s current map, which is heavily gerrymandered, it would skew the Second District Democrat, stealing the seat from Republican hands and taking out current GOP Rep. Yvette Herrell.
The group has advocated for congressional maps that would split Albuquerque into the Second District, claiming the South Valley’s Hispanic population would be better represented in the southern district.
Nena Benavidez, a paid activist for the group, said, “I am here to ask that this committee commit to present a congressional map — especially in CD2 — that will represent the majority population, which is Hispanic and Latino. We are asking for the chance, choice, and opportunity to elect the people who best represent us and our communities.”
But the Redistricting Committee, which is supposed to take into account communities of interest as a paramount factor, would have a hard time explaining how Hobbs and Santa Fe are a similar community of interest while the South Valley of Albuquerque has any similarity to Mesilla, Las Cruces, Alamogordo, or Carlsbad, which the Center for Civic Policy map proposes. Democrat groups have already lauded it for its partisanship:
New Mexico House Speaker Brian Egolf has already stated that he wants to partisanly gerrymander the Second District to take out the current Republican incumbent, saying, “So this is the last election for New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District with a map that looks like it looks now.” He added, “So next time it’ll be a different district and we’ll have to see what that means for Republican chances to hold it.”
Egolf was against a citizen redistricting committee, saying to the far-left group “Retake Our Democracy” that the independent committee would weaken Democrats’ advantage in the Legislature, “and the [Democratic] agenda goes out the window.”
He said he could not comprehend why “Democrats want to unilaterally disarm and give advantage to the people who are trying to make the world a dirtier place, take rights away from people, make it harder to vote — all the things that we oppose. I don’t want to make it easier for them to do it.”
Then, he voted for the act to create the committee after massive backlash. Only two members of the Legislature opposed the final bill: allegedly corrupt former second-ranking House Democrat Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton (D-Bernalillo) and Rep. Eliseo Alcon (D-Milan). The final bill gave the Legislature carte blanche power to reject the Committee’s maps, a massive flaw in the legislation.
New Mexicans are now asked to contact the New Mexico Citizens Redistricting Committee and ask for fair maps that keep the congressional boundaries pretty much the same and keeps communities of interest together, such as north, central, and southern New Mexico. Districts partisanly gerrymandered, like the one proposed by the Center for Civic Policy, would do the opposite of what the Redisctricing Committee was intended to do. Comments should be made in the Comment Portal.