Redistricting plan would split Roosevelt County

Alisa Boswell: Portales News-Tribune he state senate passed a redistricting proposal Monday that would separate parts of Portales, including a stretch of 18th Street, into the 2nd and 3rd Congressional Districts. Roosevelt County currently belongs to the 3rd District, but the plan would move Causey, Dora, Floyd and Elida to the more conservative 2nd District.

Freedom New Mexico

A redistricting plan that has passed the New Mexico state senate would break Roosevelt County among two congressional districts, including a split inside the Portales city limits.

Senate Bill 22, which passed the Senate on a 27-14 vote, awaited introduction in the House of Representatives.

The plan would split Roosevelt County by separating the county seat of Portales, which would remain in the liberal-leaning 3rd Congressional District, from the smaller communities of Dora, Elida and Floyd, which would move to the conservative-leaning 2nd Congressional District.

The 2nd and 3rd Districts are served by Republican Steve Pearce and Democrat Ben Ray Lujan, respectively.

The geography does create a small split in southern Portales, to facilitate incorporation of N.M. 206, a state road that leads south to Dora and Lovington.

A block of road between Avenue D and South Roosevelt Road Q, and south of 18th Street, would belong to the 2nd District, with the rest of Portales in the 3rd District.

Under the plan, even-numbered homes on that stretch of 18th Street would remain in the 3rd District, while the odd-numbered homes across the street and everything directly south of them would move to the 2nd District.

Curry County, and Cannon Air Force Base, would remain in the 3rd District.

Sens. Stuart Ingle, R-Portales, and Gay Kernan, R-Hobbs, who both represent Curry and Roosevelt counties, opposed the bill. Neither could be reached for comment Tuesday, with the Senate deliberating throughout the evening.

Rep. Dennis Roch, R-Texico, said he has not seen specifics on congressional district maps, as he is keeping his focus on other redistricting maps for the time being. But he said he would be opposed to such a split in Portales.

“I don’t think that’s wise to split up a town like that,” Roch said. “The intentions (in those cases are) less about what’s good for communities, and it’s about what’s good for the partisan performance numbers. It’s unfortunate those kind of decision are made.”

The current debate in the House is between a pair of bills, Roch said. House Bill 39, he said, would vastly change many boundaries, and split Quay County into four separate districts. He said that’s getting pushback from Republicans and some Democrats. House Bill 40, a Republican-backed measure, is drawing criticism

“My thing is,” said Roch, “I think this conversation should have happened three weeks ago.”

Roch currently represents Quay, Roosevelt, Curry, Harding, San Miguel and Union counties.

If the session is not complete by Tuesday, the Legislature would be required to approve another measure funding the extension.

“The rumors (about the session’s conclusion) are everywhere,” Roch said. “There was talk late last week we’d be out by (Monday). There’s some talk we’ll be out by (Wednesday). I doubt that happens, unless there’s some rapid agreement.”