State Senate redistricting splits representation for Garfield County in-town, some rural residents |

State Senate redistricting splits representation for Garfield County in-town, some rural residents

There will be a delayed surprise for some Garfield County voters following the once-every-decade state legislative redistricting that took place last year.

The process undertaken to account for population changes in the U.S. Census every 10 years split Garfield County between the redrawn Senate Districts 5 and 8. Those changes go into effect with this year’s elections.

Sen. Bob Rankin, a Carbondale Republican, currently represents SD8, but will shift over to represent the newly redrawn SD5 after this year. His seat is not up for re-election until 2024.

Garfield County commissioners had lobbied to keep the county whole in whichever new senate districts were decided upon. Instead, all of the municipalities in the county — Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, New Castle, Silt, Rifle and Parachute, plus Battlement Mesa — are in the new SD5 with Pitkin, Gunnison, Hinsdale and portions of Eagle, Delta and Montrose counties.

New Colorado Senate Districts that will go into effect with this year’s elections. Come January 2023, state Sen. Bob Rankin of Carbondale will represent the new SD5.
Colorado Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission

SD8, which will be an open seat in the November election, will now include the rural areas just to the north and west of Glenwood, New Castle, Silt, Rifle and Parachute, north of Interstate 70.

That leaves residents of the unincorporated West Glenwood area, for instance, with a different state senator than those inside city limits, Garfield County Clerk and Recorder Jean Alberico explained Monday during a presentation to the county commissioners regarding county precinct boundary changes based on the new population numbers.

The same is true for rural residents along sections of Highway 6 north of I-70, the Elk Creek area north of New Castle, Grass Valley and Silt Mesa, residents north of Rifle along state Highways 13 and 325, and up Parachute Creek. Those areas will all now be in the new SD8 with Rio Blanco, Moffat, Routt, Eagle, Summit, Jackson, Grand, Clear Creek and Gilpin counties.

County precinct line adjustments don’t mean much for voters come election day, since voting is now done by mail ballot instead of at precinct polling places, which used to be the case before 2013, Alberico said. The redistricting does affect who receives which ballot, she said.

It is also important information for county level Republican and Democratic party officials as they prepare for the upcoming precinct caucuses in early March, Alberico said.

County Republicans are slated to caucus on March 1, while the county Democrats are to gather on March 5, Alberico said.

Garfield County GOP Chairman Gregg Rippy noted during the Monday meeting that registered Republicans who want to participate in the caucus will want to know which precinct they reside in beforehand, and those checking people in for the caucuses will need to have the correct precinct voter lists. The same is true for Democrats participating in the party caucuses.

Delegates are selected at the caucuses to represent and vote on prospective candidates to nominate for office in this year’s elections at the county party assemblies, which are scheduled later in the spring.

Though there were some changes in the precinct lines and the number of precincts in the county, Alberico said the population changes did not warrant any changes in the county commissioner districts. Commissioner districts are to have no more than a 5% deviation in population, she said.

Commissioner District 1 (Carbondale to and including most of Glenwood Springs), now represented by Republican Tom Jankovsky, is the smallest of the three commissioner districts with a population of 19,712, according to the latest census numbers. That seat is up for election this year.

Commissioner District 2 (remainder of Glenwood Springs to Silt), represented by Republican John Martin, comes in at 20,671 residents, and District 3 (Rifle and west), represented by Republican Mike Samson, is the largest at 21,303 — for a deviation of 2.57%.

Legislative redistricting also resulted in state House District 57 being redrawn to include all of Garfield and Pitkin counties, plus the Roaring Fork Valley portion of Eagle County. Republican Perry Will of New Castle holds that seat, which also is up for election this year.

The current HD57, at least through this year, includes all of Garfield, Rio Blanco and Moffat counties. Will has indicated he intends to run for reelection this year to the new HD57 seat. Declared Democratic candidates include Cole Buerger and Elizabeth Velasco of Glenwood Springs.

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or

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