Despite being the fastest growing area in the state, Carlsbad does not seem to be doing well when it comes to the redistricting process.
On Friday, legislation was signed that significantly changed the boundaries of New Mexico’s three Congressional districts based on 2020 Census data. Under the older system, our Congressional district basically consisted of the southern third of the state.
The new Congressional district divides Southeastern New Mexico into three portions. Artesia, Roswell and northern Hobbs are now in the third Congressional District, which also includes Santa Fe. Carlsbad and south Hobbs are still in the second Congressional District, which now includes a large number of Albuquerque suburbs and Las Cruces. The first congressional district consists of the rest of Albuquerque and then goes east toward the Sacramento Mountains.
We consider this division to be clear gerrymandering, and we hope it will be challenged in court. The plan to divide up southeastern New Mexico is clearly one of the biggest issues, but it isn’t even the only problem. Many candidates from northern New Mexico have expressed concerns from their side as well. This new map does not provide rural New Mexicans with a fair opportunity for representation.
Representatives are also finalizing the maps for the state House and State Senate. Under the new House proposal, Rep. Cathrynn Brown’s District 55 will still include much of Carlsbad and extend to the east. Rep. Phelps Anderson’s District 66 includes west Carlsbad, east Artesia and east Roswell. Rep. Jim Townsend’s District 54 includes most of Artesia and extends all the way to west of Ruidoso.
The map of Carlsbad doesn’t change too much on the Senate side, though Senator Cliff Pirtle’s district will now include northern Eddy County. Carlsbad will remain a split between Senators Ron Griggs (whose district extends west) and Gay Kernan and David Gallegos (whose districts extend east). There are a few changes and shifts in the map as compared to 2010. Our incumbent senators will not be pitted against each other either. We are still reviewing these changes.
While we are very fortunate to have an outstanding representative body serving southeastern New Mexico, we are surprised at how little change actually took place. Carlsbad and Hobbs had the highest population accelerations in the state, according to the Census, and we also consider those Census numbers to be a gross undercount. The population actually went down in other parts of this state. We’d hoped this population surge would have resulted in the creation of additional representation for Carlsbad and Eddy County – individuals who could support our current elected officials in the Legislature. That does not appear to be the case.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway