Input your search keywords and press Enter.

Hispanic Caucus PAC chair urged NM Democrats redraw congressional districts while “amplifying Hispanic voices,” teeing up redistricting fights ahead

On May 6th, Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona sent a letter addressed to New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and NM House Speaker Brian Egolf that urged the two top Democrats to redraw the state’s congressional districts with the goal of “amplifying Hispanic voices.”
He also said that Melanie Stansbury, a white congresswoman who recently won a special election in New Mexico’s 1st district, did not reflect the state’s “great diversity.”
The letter obtained by Insider through a public records request was written under the auspices of BOLD PAC, a political committee tied to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. As the US Census Bureau prepares to release data for redistricting, Democrats in blue states are likely to face pressure to shore up their numbers where they can, given fears that they could lose seats amid Republican-led redistricting in other states.
“Redistricting has been partisan forever,” said Wendy Underhill, director of the elections and redistricting team at the National Conference of State Legislatures. She also said it was normal for particular communities to communicate their interests to lawmakers during redistricting periods.
“It is absolutely well within the right of any citizen, any group to make their interests known to those who will do redistricting. Very common,” she said.
“Given CHC BOLD PAC’s commitment to amplifying diverse voices by electing Latino and Hispanic candidates to Congress, we hope the state takes the redistricting process as an opportunity to ensure that the large Hispanic population, especially in southern New Mexico, is well reflected in the state’s congressional delegation,” the BOLD PAC letter read.
Egolf, the state house speaker, previously drew criticism for suggesting that the state’s southern congressional district would be redrawn after a Democrat lost her re-election battle there in 2020. “So this is the last election for New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District with a map that looks like it looks now,” Egolf told the AP. “So next time it’ll be a different district and we’ll have to see what that means for Republican chances to hold it.”
Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) July 9, 2021
Egolf walked back the comments within days, but political observers in the state continue to wonder whether state Democrats will overrule the state’s new citizen redistricting committee, which plays merely an advisory role. Egolf himself was previously opposed to the commission, arguing it “puts at tremendous peril all of the progressive causes that we care about.”
New Mexico is one of just a handful of states where Democrats have full control over the process and could theoretically gain new Democratic-leaning seats through redistricting.
“It’s a new commission, well considered by the legislature,” Underhill said of the redistricting committee. “It wasn’t a willy-nilly kind of approach to this at all, they took some time to think this through. And the proof will be in the pudding.”
Nora Sackett, a spokeswoman for the governor, told Insider, “We don’t have any comment on the specifics of redistricting at this stage as that is the prerogative of the Legislature beyond stating the governor’s expectation is that fair and representative maps be drawn.”
“Much like the state as a whole, the majority of those who call the 1st district home are people of color, including half who are Hispanic,” Gallegos also wrote in the letter. “Yet the Democratic nominee to fill this vacant seat does not reflect this great diversity.” 
A spokeswoman for Stansbury did not respond specifically to Gallego’s remarks about the congresswoman’s identity. 
“Having grown up in Albuquerque in a working family, the congresswoman has dedicated her career to fighting for all New Mexicans and knows that our tight-knit, multicultural communities bind our state together,” said Julia Friedmann, Stansbury’s communications director.
Reached for comment, the other Democratic members of the state’s congressional delegation defended Stansbury.
“As a born and raised New Mexican, Congresswoman Stansbury has been immersed in the community throughout her life and career in public service,” said Adan Serna, a spokesman for Sen. Ben Ray Lujan. “Congresswoman Stansbury is a strong representative for New Mexico’s first Congressional district,” said Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez.
Both Lujan and Leger Fernandez are members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Lujan Grisham, who previously chaired the caucus while serving in congress, said through her spokeswoman that Stansbury is “a terrific New Mexican public servant.”
Rep. Gallego, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and BOLD PAC did not respond to requests for more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *