Judge Tosses New Mexico US House Districts as Gerrymandered

Judge Tosses New Mexico US House Districts as Gerrymandered Judge Tosses New Mexico US House Districts as Gerrymandered

The New Mexico state Capitol in Santa Fe. (Valentin Armianu/Dreamstime)

John Gizzi By John Gizzi Wednesday, 20 April 2022 06:26 PM Current | Bio | Archive

In a surprise move on Tuesday, a judge in New Mexico overturned the lines for the state's three U.S. House districts.

District Judge Fred Van Soelen accepted the Republicans' argument that the new district lines were a blatant case of gerrymandering.

''The judge said that Senate Bill 1 [the new map of House districts enacted by the Democratic-controlled Legislature] was an attempt to dilute Republican strength and showed a lack of community interests,'' state GOP Chairman Steve Pearce told Newsmax on Wednesday.

The ruling was the result of a suit filed by Pearce and the state Republican Party charging blatant partisanship in the sculpting of the three U.S. House districts in the Land of Enchantment after the 2021 Census.

Pearce noted that ''the Legislature created a nonpartisan redistricting commission and then they completely ignored what the commission was recommending and did exactly what it wanted.''

Of particular interest, Pearce told us, was the 2nd District, which includes the southern two-thirds of New Mexico and where Republican Yvette Herrell unseated Democratic Rep. Xochitl Torres Small in 2020.

''The district went from plus-9 percent for Republicans to plus-3 percent for Republicans,'' he said, adding that ''communities of interest were not considered. The goal was to dilute the Republican vote.''

What happens next is unclear. According to Pearce, the judge could send the task of redrawing the districts to another judge or back to the Legislature. Or he could do the redrawing himself.

For now, he added, ''the court is agreeing with us that good governance should be nonpartisan.''

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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