N.M. House approves redistricting plan
The New Mexico House passed a Democratic-backed redistricting plan this morning, with every Republican in the chamber voting against the proposal. The Alamogordo Daily News reports:
It would pit incumbents against each other in two redrawn districts, and sets up the possibility of another competitive pairing.
In southwestern New Mexico, Republican Rep. Dianne Hamilton of Silver City would move into the same district with Democrat Rudy Martinez of Bayard.
Across the state, two Republicans from Roswell — Reps. Dennis Kintigh and Bob Wooley — would be in the same district.
Wooley is one of two House members who was not elected. Republican Gov. Susana Martinez appointed him in January to fill a vacancy. Kintigh, a retired FBI agent, is in his second term.
The plan will create both a new open Republican-leaning district in Rio Rancho, one of the largest and fastest growing metropolitan areas, and a Democratic-leaning district in the West End of Albuquerque. Redistricting consultant Brian Sanderoff told the Associated Press that a 20-mile strip in the proposed West End district was where 40 percent of the state’s population growth since 2000 has occurred.
In an effort to comply with the Voting Rights Act, six districts in the plan have a Native American-majority population and 27 will have Hispanic majorities.
Echoing the message of his party on national deficit reduction, Rep. Miguel Garcia (D-Albuquerque) called the plan “shared sacrifice,” while Republicans condemned the plan for giving a partisan advantage to Democrats.
The proposal still has to clear Republican Gov. Susana Martinez’s desk. According to NMPolitics.net, the state Democratic Party Chair Javier Gonzales said Wednesday, “A veto will throw us into court, costing the citizens of New Mexico millions of dollars in the process.”
House Minority Leader Tom Taylor (R-Farmington) echoed Gonzales on the House floor Wednesday, saying of a veto-induced courtroom solution, “It’s a lot of money for state government to spend on a bunch of arguments that we have the ability to solve in this room.”