NM Republican Party appeals redistricting ruling

By: - October 12, 2023 4:30 am

New Mexico Republicans Jim Townsend and Steve Pearce arrive in the courtroom of Judge Fred Van Soelen on Sept. 27, 2023. (Photo by Austin Fisher / Source NM)

The Republican Party of New Mexico has appealed a district court ruling on the state’s congressional map, which upheld it as constitutional.

Judge Fred Van Soelen last week found Democratic lawmakers “substantially” diluted GOP votes when they split the conservative Southeast corner of the state into multiple districts and moved more Democrats into Congressional District 2, which used to lean Republican. However, he ruled that those efforts did not “rise to the level of an egregious gerrymander,” because CD 2 proved to be competitive in 2022 when Democratic Rep. Gabe Vasquez narrowly beat then-incumbent Yvette Herrell by just 0.7%.

In announcing its plan to appeal “on behalf of all disenfranchised voters in the state of New Mexico,” the state Republican Party said in the statement Friday that it “believes the fight is too important to accept this setback without contest.”

The party and other GOP plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal that same day, though the document only appeared on the state court system’s docket Wednesday.

It was filed with the New Mexico Court of Appeals. However, attorney Carter Harrison wrote in the notice that the court had “been instructed to certify the matter to the New Mexico Supreme Court immediately.”

If the high court were to take up the case and strike down the lower court’s ruling, a new congressional map would need to be drawn ahead of the 2024 election, where Vasquez and Herrell are headed for a rematch.

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Nash Jones, KUNM News
Nash Jones, KUNM News

Nash Jones (they/them) grew up in Albuquerque and returned home in 2017 after 11 years away living in Portland, OR, and Oakland, CA. Storytelling and community education have consistently been at the core of Nash’s varied career and are, in part, what brought them to KUNM, first as a volunteer host with Spoken Word Hour and NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday, then as a staff member in the KUNM newsroom, hosting Morning Edition (2018-2021) and reporting. Nash currently hosts NPR's All Things Considered and continues to report for KUNM.