WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Friday, Jan. 21, the Republican Party of New Mexico, state Sen. David Gallegos (R), former state Sen. Timothy Jennings (D) and a group of Republican voters filed a lawsuit challenging New Mexico’s new congressional map. The state recently enacted new lines for its three congressional districts using 2020 census data, which are predicted to include one safe Democratic seat and two highly competitive seats. The lawsuit argues that this new map is a partisan gerrymander that favors Democrats in violation of the New Mexico Constitution and asks the state court to strike it down.
The plaintiffs highlight the fact that New Mexico’s previous congressional map contained a Republican district while this new map does not to argue that the “drafters intentionally ‘cracked’ Republicans in southeastern New Mexico, thereby substantially diluting their votes.” This “partisan advantage” was created by splitting communities of interest and unnecessarily dividing counties, cities and significant areas around Albuquerque and Roswell in violation of New Mexico’s redistricting guidelines, according to the complaint. The plaintiffs argue that the map drawers ignored principles and other traditional redistricting criteria and instead chose to fracture a Republican voting bloc in the southeastern, rural part of the state in violation of the state constitution’s equal protection clause.