Border Crossers: New Legislative Lines Scramble the Southern Arizona Delegation

After months of argument, a lot of name-calling and several lawsuits, Arizona’s political boundaries are set—or at least darn close to set. And for many politicians, that means it’s time to move.

The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission on Tuesday finalized—pending a legal and technical analysis by consultants, a final vote, and United States Department of Justice approval—the political maps that will define Arizona’s political landscape for the next decade.

For politicians, the process is a prolonged nightmare, and at any second, any legislator could end up like state Senator Olivia Cajero-Bedford.

“I’m screwed,” Cajero-Bedford said outside the commission meeting in Tempe Tuesday. “Say goodbye to Olivia.”

With the click of the mouse, Cajero-Bedford’s neighborhood in the Tucson Mountains got drawn into a district linked up with Oro Valley, Marana and Maricopa. It’s a Republican district where, as a Democrat, she doesn’t stand a chance of getting elected.

Every 10 years, the commission creates a new set of congressional and legislative maps adjusted for population growth and following certain constitutional and federal criteria.

Cajero-Bedford and her Democratic seatmate, Representative Macario Saldate, made a last-ditch appeal to the commission Tuesday, asking that their district lines be redrawn to protect certain “communities of interest”—aka their communities.