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NM Supreme Court Backs Dems Congressional Districts Map

New Mexico Supreme Court
Kevin Meerschaert
New Mexico Supreme Court

 In an order published Monday the New Mexico Supreme Court has upheld a Democratic-drawn congressional map that reshaped a swing district along the U.S. border with Mexico.

 All five justices signed a shortly worded order to affirm a lower court decision that the redistricting plan enacted by Democratic state lawmakers in 2021 succeeded in substantially diluting votes of their political opponents — but that the changes fell short of “egregious” gerrymandering.

The Republican Party argued unsuccessfully that the new district boundaries would entrench Democratic officials in power, highlighting the 2022 defeat of incumbent GOP Congresswoman Yvette Herrell by Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabe Vasquez.

Democratic state lawmakers argued that the 2nd District in southern New Mexico remains competitive, with just a 0.7% margin of victory in the 2022 election.

After Monday night’s Capitol Christmas Tree lighting ceremony New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver said she was pleased with the decision with an election just around the corner.

“We were happy with the results,” she said. “Not trying to change districts as far as we are into the election cycle for next year, it’s important for voters to know where their districts are and who their Representatives are.”    

State Republican Party Chairman Steve Pearce says they are contemplating our next course of action.

State District Court Judge Fred Van Soelen had ruled in October that recent changes to New Mexico's congressional districts do not violate the state constitution.

 New Mexico was among several states to use a citizens advisory board with the aim of tempering political inclinations — without taking redistricting powers away from state lawmakers.

           Groups, including Common Cause, say the process resulted in fairer maps. But Republicans argued that they were effectively shut out of the final legislative process.        

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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