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Analysis: Rural New Mexico risks loss in redistricting

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By Barry Massey

SANTA FE — Rural New Mexico and part of the city of Albuquerque are on the political chopping block as lawmakers consider how to redraw boundaries of legislative districts to adjust for population changes during the past decade.

Eastern and north-central portions of the state are at risk of losing representation in the Legislature because the region’s growth since 2000 has lagged behind statewide population increases. The same is true for central sections of Albuquerque.

But the fast-growing metropolitan area of Albuquerque west of the Rio Grande is a winner in redistricting: It’s almost certain to gain seats in the House and Senate.

That’s the message to lawmakers from the Legislature’s redistricting consultant, Brian Sanderoff, who runs a research and polling company in Albuquerque.

“It would be impossible mathematically for new representation to not occur on the west side. The trick is this: If new seats are going to emerge on the west side other seats must be consolidated,” Sanderoff told senators on Wednesday as he outlined the population trends that will drive redistricting decisions.


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