Trial starts on NM congressional redistricting

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By Barry Massey

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A trial began Monday that will influence the political tilt of New Mexico's three congressional districts for the rest of the decade.

State District Judge James Hall is presiding over the trial, which is expected to last several days this week. Democrats currently hold two of the state's congressional seats. Groups of Republicans, Democrats and minority voters are recommending options to the judge to consider in drawing new district boundaries.

GOP Gov. Susana Martinez, other Republicans and some Democrats, including Rep. Brian Egolf of Santa Fe, support a "least change" plan making few revisions to current districts.

A separate Democratic group, including Rep. Antonio "Moe" Maestas of Albuquerque, proposes consolidating most of Bernalillo and Valencia counties into the 1st Congressional District. The plan would make the district slightly more Democratic in its voting.

A Hispanic civil rights group, the New Mexico League of United Latin American Citizens, or LULAC, advocates creating a Hispanic majority district in southern and south-central New Mexico. If the judge adopted that proposal it would transform a solidly GOP seat into a swing district that would give a Democratic candidate a much better chance of winning.

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