Redistricting in New Mexico
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New Mexico did not gain or lose any seats from the reapportionment after the 2010 census. The state population grew to over 2 million residents, an increase of 13.2 percent.
The New Mexico Legislature is responsible for redistricting the state House and Senate, as well as Congressional districts, Public Regulation Commission and state Board of Education districts. Local governments are responsible for redrawing their districts.
The Legislature held a special session starting September 6, 2011 to redraw House and Senate districts.
The Legislative Council Service awarded a contract, capped at less than $1 million, to Albuquerque-based company Research & Polling Inc. to provide technical work to the legislature for redistricting in 2011.
A bill to form an interim redistricting committee was approved by the Senate on March 17, 2011. It was introduced by Mary Helen Garcia (D) in the New Mexico House of Representatives. According to the bill, there would be 18 members on the committee -- nine appointed by the Speaker of the House and nine by the New Mexico State Senate's Committees' Committee.
The committee would then create a plan and make recommendations to the New Mexico Legislature for implementation of the redistricting process. The newly created committee would adjourn on January 13, 2012.
Meanwhile, Rep. Thomas Anderson introduced HJR 21, a joint resolution which would permanently establish an eight member bipartisan redistricting commission made up of four Republicans and four Democrats. The members would be appointed by legislative leaders.
On May 9, 2011, the 18-member redistricting committee was named. Those members were:
On March 14, 2011, the Census Bureau shipped New Mexico's local census data to the governor and legislative leaders. This data would guide redistricting for state and local offices. The data is publicly available for downloading.
The new ideal district population is 29,417 people per House district, and 49,028 for the Senate.
Incorporated places/County population changes
These tables show the change in population in the five largest incorporated places and counties in New Mexico from 2000-2010.
Census data shows that population in the 1st Congressional District grew the most, the 3rd increased as well, while the 2nd dropped. The 1st and 3rd were held by Democrats, and the 2nd was held by a Republican. After the 2000 redistricting process, the state sent $1.8 million on new maps. But an additional $1.7 million was required to fight court battles and litigation. That was because the state covered legal expenses for anyone who filed suit after 2001.
Some of the districts that require population corrections:
- District 1: 15,546 above ideal size
- District 2: 22,437 under ideal size
- District 3: 6,891 above ideal size
A redistricting consultant to the committee -- Research and Polling Inc. -- created seven draft maps in June 2011 and presented them to the committee. One proposal would have folded all of eastern New Mexico into a southern Congressional district.
The committee held public input sessions to gauge reaction to the draft maps.
The committee reviewed seven different possible versions of new Congressional districts.
Senate passes plan
On September 19, 2011, The Senate quickly passed a map on a 27-14 party-line vote. The map then went to the House for consideration. There are three U.S. House seats in New Mexico, with Democrats holding 2 seats at the time. The map, if passed in this form, was thought to likely solidify a 2-1 Democratic advantage for the next decade.
On August 31, 2011, Native American leaders urged lawmakers to maintain the Indian-majority districts. At the time, there were six state house and three state senate where Native Americans accounted for at least 65 percent of the population.
Southern New Mexico
Legislators from the southern portion of the state said they would work together to fight the possibility that their geographic area of the state would lose representation. Some of those legislators included state reps Rudy Martinez (D), Dianne Hamilton (R) and State senator John Arthur Smith (D). The southern part of the state suffered a greater population loss proportionally compared to the rest of the state.
Special session begins
On September 6, 2011, a special session began to conduct redistricting. Early indications were that the GOP would pick up seats in Albuquerque due to population swings. Rural New Mexico was also expected to lose seats as the Eastern and north-central part of the state had slower population growth compared to the rest of New Mexico.
The GOP introduced a Senate map on September 13, 2011 that would not place any incumbents within the same district. The map was finalized once Kent Cravens confirmed his intention to resign once redistricting was completed. Democrats had not yet introduced a map.
State Senate map: A plan passed along partisan lines 27-15 on September 21, 2011. The map paired two sets of incumbents -- Republicans Rod Adair and William Burt would be in one southeastern district; Dede Feldman (D) and John Ryan (R) were placed together in a district containing parts of Albuquerque. State House map: With a 36-33-1 partisan advantage, Democrats controlled the process. However, two state representatives -- Sandra Jeff (D) and independent Andrew Nunez -- would not support the early Democratic proposals which hinted at a stalemate of 35-35. However, Nunez later switched his vote which led to the bill passing on the House floor on September 22, 2011 by a 36-34 vote.
Governor Susana Martinez (R) indicated on October 6, 2011 that she was on the verge of vetoing the state legislative maps sent to her desk by the Democratic state legislature. Martinez had until October 14 to make a decision. 
On October 7, 2011, Martinez officially vetoed the maps.
Court-approve state house map
The new map, approved on January 3, 2012, paired two incumbent Democrats and two incumbent Republicans. Bob Wooley and Dennis Kintigh were placed in the same district, while Al Park and Jimmie Hall were combined into an Albuquerque-based district. There were six majority-minority districts for Native Americans. While Governor Susana Martinez (R) applauded the new districts, Democratic state representative Antonio Maestas expressed his displeasure with the new map which he said rigged the seats to protect Republican incumbents.
Senate map implemented
The judge adopted the map on January 16, 2012. Two Democratic incumbents were paired together, as well as two incumbent Republicans. The bipartisan plan combined Republicans Rod Adair and William Burt into one district. Democratic incumbents Gerald Ortiz y Pino and Eric Griego were also paired in one district. However, Griego declared as a candidate for a U.S. House seat. 
Joint Resolution 4
On February 22, 2013, Senator Bill O'Neill (D) proposed Senate Joint Resolution 4, a constitutional amendment that would create an independent redistricting committee to draw new maps every ten years. This would eliminate the legislature and the governor's veto power from the redistricting process. To create the committee, the state board that nominates appeals judges would select a pool of twenty qualified candidates. The majority and minority leaders of the House and Senate would then appoint four of the members of the redistricting board. The fifth member, by default the chairperson of the committee, would be chosen by the four appointees. The legislation has other stipulation, such as not allowing more than two members of any political party to be on the board at once, along with the exclusion of recent elected officials, lobbyists, campaign officials, and political consultants.
The city of Las Cruces hired Albuquerque-based Research and Polling Incorporated to redraw voting districts. The city council also approved a citizen redistricting committee, as was suggested to them by Common Cause of Southern New Mexico. The committee was made up of 15 residents, one representative from Common Cause, and each city councilor and the mayor will appoint two members from their district.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the City of Albuquerque. The city held elections in October 2011 and was due to redistrict boundaries after those races. The ACLU suit demanded that the new map be generated in advance of the 2011 elections in order to more accurately reflect the most recent population counts.
During the FY 2012 budgeting process, Governor Susana Martinez (R) vetoed a $100,000 line item that was intended for funding the redistricting committee's expenses. Some lawmakers are worried that this would inhibit the committee's ability to hold public hearings around the state.
- July 18: Clovis
- July 19: Roswell
- July 20: Las Cruces
- August 4: Gallup
- August 5: Farmington
- August 15: Albuquerque
- August 16: Rio Rancho
- August 30-31: Santa Fe
The committee met August 3-5. Handouts were made available online such as testimony and letters from citizens and interested legislators.
State legislative lawsuits
In late September 2011, the New Mexico legislature adjourned a special session after approving state legislative maps but without sending a Congressional map to the Governor. With Governor Susana Martinez (R) likely to veto the state maps, several lawsuits were filed at the end of September 2011 asking the courts to step in.
- Democrats, including state representative Brian Egolf, filed suit in Santa Fe.
- Republicans, including state representative Donald Bratton, filed a suit in Lovington. Another set of Republicans filed a suit in state district court in Albuquerque
- Initially, four judges in three different courts were assigned to lawsuits
The lawsuits all requested the court to re-draw the 70 state house and 42 state senate districts, which is also what happened after the 2001 redistricting process failed to produce legislatively-approved maps.
In October 2011 the legislature authorized the hiring of lawyers to defend the maps in court. GOP leaders were advocating for two sets of lawyers -- one for the Democrats, who passed the maps, and another for Republicans, who largely opposed them. The three lawyers hired were the same group of individuals who defended the legislature after lawsuits following the 2001 redistricting process. They were set to receive $260/hour for their work.
On October 12, 2011, the New Mexico Supreme Court consolidated the redistricting lawsuits and named a retired judge to preside over the case. All lawsuits going forward were be consolidated into the case as well, which was handled by retired judge James Hall.
The retired judge handling the redistricting lawsuits in New Mexico -- James Hall -- set the timeline for court hearings about the four disputed maps (Congressional, State Senate, State House, and Public Regulation Commission). The dates were:
- December 5-8: Congressional map
- December 12-15 and December 19-21: State House map
- January 3-6 and January 9-10: State Senate map
- January 11-13: Public Regulation Commission map
On October 25, 2011, District Judge James Hall rejected a proposal by Governor Susana Martinez to use a special master to draw new redistricting maps in New Mexico. The GOP favored this process while Democrats were opposed. Redistricting trials began in December and concluded in January.
At the end of November 2011, the court told lawyers for Governor of New Mexico Susana Martinez and Republicans that they could obtain emails, notes and other correspondences relating to the redistricting process that involved consultant Brian Sanderoff and legislators. Democratic legislative leaders had contended that such communication would be confidential and protected under state law.
A trial regarding the new congressional map for the three districts in New Mexico started and concluded the first week of December 2011. District Judge James Hall said he hoped to make a decision before December 21. Hall heard testimony that predominantly centered on whether a majority-minority Hispanic district should be created in the southern portion of the state.
On December 29, 2011, District Judge James Hall adopted a new map for New Mexico’s three congressional districts. The plan -- which had received bi-partisan support including from Governor Susana Martinez -- made the fewest possible changes to the existing boundaries.
House map adopted
The new map, approved on January 3, 2012, paired two incumbent Democrats and two incumbent Republicans. Bob Wooley and Dennis Kintigh were placed in the same district, while Al Park and Jimmie Hall were combined into an Albuquerque-based district. There are six majority-minority districts for Native Americans. While Governor Susana Martinez (R) applauded the new districts, Democratic state representative Antonio Maestas expressed his displeasure with the new map which he said rigged the seats to protect Republican incumbents.
A group of Democrats and minority voters challenged the court-drawn map. The State Supreme Court held a hearing on February 7, 2012 to hear the suit. The State Supreme Court heard arguments in a lawsuit regarding the court-drawn map for the New Mexico House of Representatives. The hearing lasted about two hours, and judges said it will issue an order soon -- however, no actual deadline was announced. Democrats contend that the new map did not adequately protect minority voting interests.
On February 10, the New Mexico Supreme Court rejected a court-drawn state House map. The new configurations were drawn by retired judge James Hall, who had been appointed by the Supreme Court to begin with. On February 13, Republicans filed a formal complaint in federal court stemming from the Supreme Court's ruling. The complaint called for a three-judge panel to overturn the state court's decision.
Three federal judges were named to oversee the lawsuit. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals appointed appellate judges Harris Hartz Bruce Black, and William Johnson to hear the case. The filing deadline for state legislative candidates was scheduled for March 20 -- however, that date would have been jeopardized if no new map was completed in time.
During the week of February 24, Judge Hall released new maps. Hall altered the map to comply with the high court's directives. One proposal paired current House speaker Ben Lujan Sr. with fellow Democrat Nick Salazar, though Lujan did not run for re-election. The other proposal paired Salazar with Thomas Garcia. The proposals can be seen here and here.
On February 29, 2012, Democrats and Republicans came to an agreement on a court-ordered map. Analysis indicates that the map creates a better election environment for the GOP than the map originally passed by the legislature.
A new bipartisan plan emerged for New Mexico State Senate districts -- and it was presented to the state court on January 11, 2012 for consideration. Lawyers for the Democratic-controlled state legislature opposed the maps, which were promoted by Governor Susana Martinez (R), state legislative Republicans, a group of Democrats, and Native Americans. The plan combined Republicans Rod Adair and William Burt into one district. Democratic incumbents Gerald Ortiz y Pino and Eric Griego were also in one district. However, Griego already declared as a candidate for a U.S. House seat. 
Senate map adopted
The judge adopted the map on January 16, 2012. Two Democratic incumbents were paired together as well as two incumbent Republicans.
On July 30, 2012, District Judge James Hall ruled that taxpayers would be responsible for paying attorneys' fees for those who represented Democratic, Republican, Native American and Hispanic voter interests in the redistricting trials - a sum that amounted to nearly $3 million. Gov. Martinez suggested the legislature pay the fees for Democratic-leaning groups, while the executive branch should pay for Navajos and Republican interests. Hall rejected this notion, stating, "the request itself only reaffirms the 'us-versus-them' mentality which pervades our present political environment."
Following this decision, an analysis by the Associated Press found the total cost to taxpayers for the redistricting process came to nearly $8 million. This reignited the call by some for the creation of a nonpartisan commission to handle the once a decade process.
Partisan Registration by District
Congressional Districts in November 2010
|Partisan Registration and Representation by Congressional District, 2010|
|Congressional District||Republicans||Democrats||Unaffiliated||District Total||Party Advantage*||111th Congress||112th Congress|
|1 (Albuquerque)||135,709||198,444||84,791||418,944||46.22% Democratic|
|2 (Southern New Mexico)||119,326||156,357||61,351||337,034||31.03% Democratic|
|3 (Northern New Mexico)||112,539||215,385||68,407||396,331||91.39% Democratic|
|State Totals||367,574||570,186||214,549||1,152,309||55.12% Democratic||3 D, 0 R||2 D, 1 R|
|*The partisan registration advantage was computed as the gap between the two major parties in registered voters.|
|New Mexico 20101Redistricting Timeline|
|April 1, 2011||US Census Bureau precinct-level population data must be released by this date.|
|June-Aug. 2011||Legislators will work with the Research & Polling Corp. to develop redistricting plans.|
|September 2011||State legislature expected to hold a special session to vote on redistricting plans.|
|January 2012||If plans are signed by the governor, they will go into effect by beginning of 2012 election cycle.|
A special session began September 6, 2011.
When New Mexico entered the Union in 1912, its constitution provided for a 24 member Senate and 49 member House and allowed for reapportionment following each Census, but did not require it. To that end, the original 1911 apportionment ended up standing until 1949.
The 1949 Senate reapportionment provided for one senator per county, with the exception of newly created Los Alamos County. The plan eliminated population equality standards and shoestring districts. The House, after extensive debate, finally settled on raising the number of representatives to 55, and allowed single county districts up to 6 representatives. The new apportionment was adopted as a constitutional amendment.
Redistricting was once again taken up in 1955 under the guise of righting the inequalities of the 1949 plan, but instead resulted in greatly uneven population among the districts. In 1963 the courts found the plan unconstitutional. This led the Governor to call a special session to reapportion the House. After much debate a plan was settled on which would increase the House to 75 members with a weighed voting system for all. While this came much closer to achieving population equality, it was found to violate the state constitution and later federal standards as well.
The Senate's 1966 attempt was also found unconstitutional, as were the plans of both chambers in 1971, all due to population variances. Finally, in 1972, the Senate set up a plan for 42 single member districts, and the House approved 70 districts, both of which were upheld by the courts. In 1976 voters approved a constitutional amendment keeping the size of the chambers at 42 and 70, which remains in effect today.
During the 2001 redistricting process, former Republican Governor Gary Johnson vetoed the redistricting plan created by the legislature. A special session was held for 17 days at a cost of $700,000. Ultimately, the maps were drawn by the State Supreme Court.
Deviation from "Ideal Districts"
|2000 Population Deviation|
|State House Districts||9.70%|
|State Senate Districts||9.60%|
|Under federal law, districts may vary from an 'Ideal District' by up to 10%, though the lowest number achievable is preferred. 'Ideal Districts' are computed through simple division of the number of seats for any office into the population at the time of the Census.|
There were two lawsuits related to the New Mexico 2000 census redistricting process.
- Jepsen v. Vigil-Giron, No. D0101 CV 2001 02177 (1st Jud. Dist. Santa Fe Co. Jan. 2, 2002) : After the governor vetoed the congressional redistricting plan passed by the legislature, the court was presented with six different proposed plans. The main issue at stake was in the possible creation of an Hispanic-majority district. The court found that, since the white majority did not vote sufficiently as a block to enable it to usually defeat the minority’s preferred candidate, drawing an Hispanic-majority district was not required by the Voting Rights Act. It adopted the plan submitted by the Vigil plaintiffs, which moved the least amount of people.
- Jepsen v. Vigil-Giron, No. D0101 CV 2001 02177 (1st Jud. Dist. Santa Fe Co. Jan. 24, 2002) : After the governor vetoed the first and second House plans passed by the legislature, the court was again presented with six different proposed plans. The court found that the current House plan failed to provide equal electoral access to the state's Native American population. The court adopted plans from the Navajo Nation and the Jicarilla Apache Nation as the best overall remedy. For the state the court adopted the second plan passed by the Legislature and responded to the governor's objections.
- State Legislative and Congressional Redistricting after the 2010 Census
- State-by-state redistricting procedures
- ↑ KOB-TV, "New Mexico goes over 2 million population mark," December 21, 2010
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Santa Fe Reporter, "Redrawing New Mexico," January 12, 2011
- ↑ Las Cruces Sun-News, "Census data to change local political scene," April 4, 2011
- ↑ KOB, "Senate approves bill to create redistricting panel," March 18, 2011
- ↑ Voting Matters, "HB 332 and HJR 21- Redistricting," February 9, 2011
- ↑ Albany Times Union "Lawmakers name panel to work on NM redistricting," May 9, 2011
- ↑ Greenfield Reporter "NM legislative group recommends Sept. 12 for start of special session on redistricting," July 19, 2011
- ↑ PR Newswire, "Census Bureau Ships Local 2010 Census Data to New Mexico," March 14, 2011
- ↑ Las Cruces Sun-News, "Census and re-districting: Growth could lead to changes," March 21, 2011
- ↑ U.S. Census Bureau, "New Mexico Custom tables 2010," accessed March 15, 2011
- ↑ New Mexico Independent, "New redistricting data shows big growth in 1st Congressional District," March 30, 2011
- ↑ Las Cruces Sun-News "NM Legislature's Redistricting Committee gets demographic overview (7 p.m.)," June 20, 2011
- ↑ KRQE "Redistricting to be big political fight," August 30, 2011
- ↑ Greenfield Reporter "NM legislative panel begins task of drawing new congressional, legislative district boundaries," June 20, 2011
- ↑ Newswest 9 "NM lawmakers start the task of redistricting," June 20, 2011
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 Las Cruces News Sun "Redistricting group in Las Cruces," July 20, 2011
- ↑ Houston Chronicle "Senate OKs NM congressional redistricting plan," September 19, 2011
- ↑ Houston Chronicle "Lawmakers urged to keep Indian-majority districts," August 31, 2011
- ↑ Silver City Sun-News "Redistricting could cost region representation in Santa Fe," August 25, 2011
- ↑ Houston Chronicle "Analysis: Rural NM risks loss in redistricting," September 7, 2011
- ↑ New Mexico Independent "GOP to pick up seats in Albuquerque after redistricting process," September 8, 2011
- ↑ The Republic "House approves $1.2M to cover expenses of legislative special session," September 7, 2011
- ↑ New Mexico Independent "Senate Republican redistricting plan emerging," September 15, 2011
- ↑ Real Clear Politics "Senate OKs state Senate redistricting proposal," September 21, 2011
- ↑ Santa Fe New Mexican "House passes redistricting plan," September 21, 2011
- ↑ New Mexico Watchdog "NM Governor: “It’s likely” I’ll veto legislative redistricting bills," October 6, 2011
- ↑ Alamorgordo Daily News "N.M. governor vetoes redistricting plans," October 7, 2011
- ↑ 28.0 28.1 NECN "Court issues decision in state House redistricting," January 3, 2012
- ↑ 29.0 29.1 The Republic "Incumbents in southeastern, north-central New Mexico paired in court-approved redistricting," January 3, 2012
- ↑ The Republic "Judge adopts bipartisan redistricting plan for New Mexico Senate," January 16, 2012
- ↑ Newswest 9 "Compromise plan offered on NM Senate redistricting," January 11, 2012
- ↑ Las Cruces Sun-News, "Senate resolution would take redistricting out of lawmakers' hands," February 22, 2013
- ↑ KRWG, "City OK's Citizen Redistricting Committee," February 22, 2011
- ↑ New Mexico Independent "ACLU sues City of Albuquerque over redistricting," June 7, 2011
- ↑ New Mexico Independent "Newly named redistricting panel faces travel cuts, fewer public hearings," May 10, 2011
- ↑ Albuquerque Journal "Redistricting Committee Releases Tentative Meeting Schedule," June 8, 2011
- ↑ New Mexico Independent "Redistricting fight moves to the courts," September 28, 2011
- ↑ KASA 2 "Redistricting lawsuits now total three," September 27, 2011
- ↑ Houston Chronicle "Lawsuits fly in fight to redraw NM districts," September 27, 2011
- ↑ Houston Chronicle "Redistricting dispute heads to NM Supreme Court," September 29, 2011
- ↑ The Republic "Democrats ask New Mexico Supreme Court to consolidate redistricting lawsuits," September 29, 2011
- ↑ Houston Chronicle "Analysis: NM redistricting replays 2001 battle," September 26, 2011
- ↑ Houston Chronicle "Redistricting attorneys OK'd for Legislature," October 3, 2011
- ↑ The Republic "NM Supreme Court consolidates redistricting suits in Santa Fe, assigns retired judge to cases," October 12, 2011
- ↑ The Republic "Judge schedules 4 hearings on New Mexico redistricting in December, January," October 21, 2011
- ↑ News West 9 "Judge rejects use of redistricting special master," October 25, 2011
- ↑ 47.0 47.1 The Republic "Judge allows GOP lawyers to obtain email, notes of Legislature's consultant on redistricting," November 29, 2011
- ↑ The Republic "Trial ends on congressional redistricting in New Mexico after 2 days of testimony," December 6, 2011
- ↑ The Republic "State judge adopts NM redistricting plan with fewest changes among proposed alternatives," December 29, 2011
- ↑ The Republic "New Mexico Supreme Court to hold hearing in House redistricting appeal on Feb. 7," January 19, 2012
- ↑ WSLS 10 "NM Supreme Court Hears Redistricting Appeal," February 8, 2012
- ↑ News West 9 "NM Supreme Court rejects House redistricting plan," February 10, 2012
- ↑ Watchdog "Complaint of NM Supreme Court redistricting decision filed in federal court," February 14, 2012
- ↑ HTR News "Federal judges named to hear NM redistricting case," February 16, 2012
- ↑ KOB "Judge proposes NM House redistricting options ," February 21, 2012
- ↑ KASA "Dems., GOP agree to House redistricting," February 29, 2012
- ↑ NMPolitics.net "Republicans still win House redistricting battle," March 1, 2012
- ↑ Newswest 9 "Compromise plan offered on NM Senate redistricting," January 11, 2012
- ↑ The Republic "Judge adopts bipartisan redistricting plan for New Mexico Senate," January 16, 2012
- ↑ WTNH, "Judge awards nearly $3M for NM redistricting fees," August 1, 2012
- ↑ New Mexico Watchdog, "And the redistricting price tag keeps growing — now the figure is $8 million," August 2, 2012
- ↑ New Mexico Secretary of State, "Voter Registration Statistics Report," October 12, 2010
- ↑ The Republic "Gov. Martinez sets Sept. 6 as starting date for special session of NM Legislature," August 15, 2011
- ↑ Policy Archive, "Reapportionment Politics: The History of Redistricting in the 50 States," Rose Institute of State and Local Government, January 1981 (pg.217-228)
- ↑ Current Argus "Jay Miller: Expect redistricting session fireworks," August 20, 2011
- ↑ National Conference of State Legislatures, “Redistricting 2000 Population Deviation Table”, accessed February 1, 2011
- ↑ Minnesota State Senate "2000 Redistricting Case Summaries"