Monday, October 04, 2021

Sweeping Congressional Redistricting Plan Emerges; ABQ Divided Among Two Districts; South Would Lean Dem; Is This The One? Plus: Heinrich with Rare Attack On Fellow Delegation Member 

Melanie Stansbury, get your new cowgirl boots ordered and Teresa Leger Fernandez polish yours up because both you gals may be headed south. And Yvette Herrell, get your worry beads out.

That's the picture rapidly developing in the crucial 2021 redistricting of the state's three US House seats. 

The newest plan--believed by informed insiders to be in the running as a top pick--would take a major step toward turning the southern congressional district from a conservative leaning district currently represented by GOP Rep. Herrell into a full fledged Democratic bastion. 

The ABQ Congressional District One represented by Rep. Stansbury and the northern Congressional District Two represented by Rep. Leger Fernandez are already reliably Dem. The proposed plan would keep their clear Dem advantage intact but dramatically change the face of New Mexican politics as it divvys up Albuquerque in a way never seen before.

As you can see, the plan (closer view and demographic info here) sends a large slice of the southern Second Congressional District into ABQ's Hispanic Democratic South Valley and Westside, precincts that would present a problem for Herrell who is seeking re-election to a second term next year.  

Furthermore, the plan would swallow up some GOP friendly conservative Eastside territory and place it in the northern congressional district which would then run all the way down to Hobbs. 

That SE NM oil city, which now has a majority Hispanic population, would be split between the northern and southern congressional districts, causing further headaches for Herrell. 

The dramatic change to the southern district, the last bastion of GOP power in the state, is the most important consequence of this proposed map. It was conceived by progressive interest groups and presented to the eight member NM Citizens Redistricting Committee chaired by former NM Supreme Court Justice Edward Chávez and which will make recommendations to the Legislature for the special redistricting session expected to start December 6. 

Supporters of the reshaped southern district say it would have 56 percent Hispanic residents compared to today's 49 percent. Given the state's majority-minority status they argue the change is natural and fair. 

As for placing a large swath of the ABQ South Valley in the southern district, the argument is that it is largely rural as is the southern district. More commentary from the group submitting the map is here.

The map to the right shows in greater detail how parts of ABQ would fall into the southern congressional district. (Click to enlarge). 

As for Rep. Stansbury, first elected at a June special election, her district would still be largely concentrated in the ABQ area but the plan does significantly expand its geography. Notably, she would pick up the Republican dominated counties of Chaves and Lincoln but would also add Dem dominated Guadalupe county. 

Under the plan, each district would have about 705,000 residents, an even split of the state's 2020 Census  population of 2.115 million. 

There has been speculation that the Dems might hold back on a sweeping remake of the state's congressional districts and do only minor tinkering. Some of the plans before the commission do only that. But if this sweeping plan makes the commission's final list of recommendations, as seems likely, it will be the one to watch in December. 

The map to the right shows in greater detail how parts of ABQ would fall into the southern congressional district. (Click to enlarge). 


A major political development in redistricting was the recent endorsement by Dem US Senator Martin Heinrich of Las Cruces City Councilor Gabe Vasquez for the '22 Dem nomination for the southern congressional seat. Heinrich, now the state's senior senator and taking a more active role in state politics, would seem sure to lobby the Dem legislative leadership to go all in for a district that could increase Vasquez's chances against Herrell. No other Dems have announced for the nomination.

Our Alligators at the redistricting committee meeting where the plan came down noted the shocked look of Republican member and former GOP Chairman Ryan Cangliosi:

"He looked like a neck artery was ready to pop as he reviewed the plan," said one of the Gators. 

There will be much debate to come and no proposed plan will go unamended. However, redistricting has now entered an aggressive phase with the pieces of the puzzle on the move and the fight for political power about to be fully engaged.


In an highly unusual statement Dem Sen. Martin Heinrich has lashed out by name at a fellow member of the congressional delegation, southern GOP Congresswoman Yvette Herrell. 

Determined to push his favored candidate to eject Herrell from her southern seat next year, Heinrich unloaded on Herrell in a fund-raising message: 

. . . The New Mexico GOP proudly supports Representative Yvette Herrell, a Trump Republican who has doubled down on irresponsible claims that the horse dewormer Ivermectin is a viable treatment for COVID-19. Her claim isn’t just false — it’s outright dangerous. Two New Mexicans have died and many more have been hospitalized due to misuse of this drug, yet Republicans continue to push misinformation to score political points. That’s why it’s so important to support the New Mexico Democratic Party’s efforts to replace anti-science politicians like Yvette Harrell (sic) with strong Democrats. A Democrat recently held the seat Rep. Herrell is in, and we can take it back again with enough momentum and resources — and a great candidate in Gabe Vasquez.  

Or is that now Gabe Heinrich?

It is rare for one member of the delegation to attack by name another member unless, of course, they are running against each other for another office. This direct volley reveals how the DC polarization has upended long-standing protocols. 

And Herrell may be getting somewhat of a bum wrap from Heinrich and the DC Dems. The National Institute of Health (NIH) reports on Ivermectin for humans:

Ivermectin is a Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved antiparasitic drug that is used to treat several neglected tropical diseases, including onchocerciasis, helminthiases, and scabies. It is also being evaluated for its potential to reduce the rate of malaria transmission by killing mosquitoes that feed on treated humans and livestock. . .No clinical trials have reported a clinical benefit for ivermectin in patients with (coronaviruses) Some studies of ivermectin have also reported potential anti-inflammatory properties, which have been postulated to be beneficial in people with COVID-19. There is insufficient evidence for the COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel (the Panel) to recommend either for or against the use of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19. 

Yeah, and don't mix it with your green chile, either.

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