U.S. Rep. Jason Crow and his family are moving to Centennial from Aurora, a relocation that comes as the state’s congressional districts are being redrawn ahead of the 2022 election and which could have major political consequences.
The Democrat, who is in his second two-year term, will still live in his 6th Congressional District. But Centennial is part of a fast-growing south Denver metro area that some believe could anchor Colorado’s new 8th Congressional District while Aurora is moved into another district.
Behind the scenes, Crow’s move has shuffled the 2022 plans of some fellow Democrats who are unwilling to take on the incumbent.
Crow declined to comment, but an aide to the congressman confirmed his move next month and said his intention is to continue serving the people of the 6th District.
There are no requirements that congressional candidates live in the district they are running to represent as long as they live in the same state where the district is located. For example, a candidate could live in Grand Junction but run for and represent a seat based in Boulder. But there can be electoral consequences to trying to live in one part of the state and representing another in Congress.
It remains to be seen where Colorado’s new congressional districts will be. The independent commission currently working to determine how the maps will be drawn must take into account representation of minorities and communities of interest. The commission must also weigh geographic boundaries and population and maximize the number of politically competitive districts.
The districts cannot be drawn to cater to incumbents or potential candidates.
The 6th Congressional District, which includes Aurora and other parts of Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties, grew in population by 13% from 2010 to 2019, according to a Colorado Sun analysis.
Each of Colorado’s eight congressional districts are expected to have a population of roughly 720,000, The Sun’s analysis showed. More than 820,000 people live in the 6th District, per 2019 population estimates, meaning the district will probably contract and its boundaries shift.
Curtis Hubbard, a Democratic consultant who has worked closely on Colorado redistricting, believes it is much more likely that the new congressional district will be drawn elsewhere and that Crow’s district will still include Aurora, which is Colorado’s third-largest city.
“Anyone who thinks that the best place for a new 8th Congressional District is south metro Denver has not spent enough time north of metro Denver,” Hubbard said. “That is truly the area where there has been more significant, substantial growth and where there are significant communities of interest around policies that do and will require federal action.”
Crow lived in Denver’s Central Park neighborhood before moving to nearby Aurora as he first campaigned in the 2018 election cycle to represent the 6th District.
The redistricting process is in limbo because detailed population data from the U.S. Census Bureau isn’t supposed to arrive in Colorado until late September. To avoid additional delays, the independent Congressional Redistricting Commission, which is tasked with redrawing the district boundaries, plans to initially use preliminary data from 2019. That’s despite a pending opinion from the Colorado Supreme Court on the use of data other than the final numbers from the Census Bureau.
The commission’s plan is to use the final data to update its initial maps based on the preliminary population numbers.
The Sun has been working to determine who is interested in running for the 8th District should they be drawn into the district. Here is the breakdown so far:
- State Sen. Brittany Pettersen of Lakewood
- State Sen. Julie Gonzales of Denver
- State Rep. Emily Sirota of Denver
- State Rep. Leslie Herod of Denver
- State Rep. Daneya Esgar of Pueblo
- State Sen. Jeff Bridges of Greenwood Village
- State Rep. Kevin Van Winkle of Highlands Ranch
- State Rep. Patrick Neville of Castle Rock
- State Rep. Colin Larson of Littleton
- State Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg of Sterling
- Former 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler, who lives in Parker
The new congressional maps are constitutionally required to be finalized before the end of the year.
CLARIFICATION: This story was updated at 6:50 a.m. on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, to clarify that U.S. Rep. Jason Crow and his family will move to Centennial in June.
CORRECTION: This story was updated at 7:49 a.m. on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, to correct that Curtis Hubbard said U.S. Rep. Jason Crow’s district will likely still include Aurora.