Judge issues decision in NM House redistricting

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By Barry Massey

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A state district court has ordered a new plan for revamping the political districts of the 70-member House of Representatives, lumping together Democratic Nick Salazar and Thomas Garcia in a consolidated district in north-central New Mexico.

Retired State District Judge James Hall issued his decision on Monday, meeting a deadline set by the state Supreme Court. The justices overturned an earlier redistricting plan ordered by Hall last month and directed him to revamp it.

The judge's latest plan creates three new seats in fast-growing portions of the state — the west side of Albuquerque and the nearby community of Rio Rancho. To allow for that growth, districts in other parts of the state are consolidated — pairing incumbents in southeastern and north-central New Mexico and in central Albuquerque.