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Tuesday, Nov. 27, a day after the New Mexico Supreme Court upheld an Oct. 6 ruling on the Congressional District 2 map, officials at the Republican Party of New Mexico “are contemplating our next course of action.”
After the 2020 census, the New Mexico State Legislature redrew the state’s three congressional districts. The RPNM filed suit over the lines in District 2, saying the map “deeply fractures” the state’s southeast region by splitting it among all three congressional districts.
The District has long been a Republican stronghold, with Republicans holding the U.S. Representative seat 40 of the 54 years since it was established in 1969. The current representative is Democrat Gabe Vasquez, who defeated Republican incumbent Yvette Herrell in the 2022 election.
For most of its time, the district covered, essentially, the bottom half of New Mexico. The redistricted map moved a chunk of real estate in the southeast corner of the state into districts 1 and 3, moving majority-Republican communities such as Roswell and Ruidoso out of District 2.
In the Oct. 6 ruling, New Mexico Fifth Judicial District Court Judge Fred T. Van Soelen of Clovis ruled Oct. 6 that while Democrats succeeded in “substantially diluting their opponents votes” in the state’s Second Congressional District, the congressional redistricting map adopted by the state legislature in 2021 “does not violate the (New Mexico Republican Party’s) equal protection rights” under the state constitution.”
That’s when the RPNM appealed to the state Supreme Court.
“We are glad that the State Supreme Court ordered that the District Court’s redistricting decision will be upheld,” the Democratic Party of New Mexico said in a press release Nov. 27. “After a non-partisan, deliberative process that was informed by and invited expert and public input from communities across the state, and subsequently went through the complete legislative process in committees and both chambers, the Supreme Court’s decision reaffirms that these maps are fair and representative of New Mexico and our diverse communities.”
The RPNM stated: "We are disappointed in the NM Supreme Court's ruling to uphold the gerrymandered map that disenfranchises the voices of conservative Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike and divides up vital industries. We intensely disagree that Democrats did not intentionally entrench the Second Congressional District by shifting it 18 points in their favor. It's unfortunate the court would agree that 54 percent DPI (Democratic Performance Index) is considered entrenched, but the current map's 53 percent DPI, is not. The court leaned heavily on the closeness of the last election. Without the specific factors of the previous election that included a popular Republican incumbent and an unknown Democratic challenger, the effects of the entrenchment would be prominent. We are contemplating our next course of action in conference with our legal team. RPNM is proud to fight for the fair representation of every New Mexican, regardless of their political party."