Court Releases Redistricting Plan
A judicial panel appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court released the legislative redistricting maps on Tuesday afternoon and shortly thereafter, detailed lists of which House and Senate members will be most affected. Forty-six current legislators were placed in a district with another member. Sixteen of the paired incumbents are in the Senate: two DFL duos, four GOP, and two DFL vs. GOP. The House has 30 incumbent pairings: six DFL, six GOP, and three DFL vs. GOP. In addition, there are 8 open seats in the Senate and 15 in the House, an unusually large number of open seats.
Eight-term Sen. John Marty (DFL-Roseville) and freshman Sen. Mary Jo McGuire (DFL-Falcon Heights) were among those paired together. McGuire served in the House from 1989 until 2003. She made the decision to retire after the last redistricting when she and Rep. Alice Hausman (DFL-St. Paul) were put in the same district. Hausman was paired up again though she’ll get to keep her seat. She is coupled with Rep. Mindy Greiling (DFL-Roseville) who announced earlier this year that she would not seek re-election. Sen. Gary Kubly (DFL-Granite Falls), who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease last year, joined the list of legislative retirements. Kubly and Sen. Joe Gimse (R-Willmar) were matched up though Kubly announced his retirement. Pairings in the House include Majority Leader Matt Dean (R-Dellwood) and Rep. Carol McFarlane (R-White Bear Lake), both serving their third term in the House.
In its final order, the judicial panel said that it established politically neutral principles to utilize during the redistricting process including: drawing districts with a maximum deviation of two percent from the ideal population, without the purpose of denying any citizen voting rights, with convenient and contiguous territory, respectful of political subdivisions, and without the purpose of protecting or defeating incumbents. A “least-change strategy” was used whenever possible to minimize voter confusion; however, the panel called attention to the, largely unavoidable, district renumbering.
Congressional district maps were also released yesterday. Two current members, Congresswomen Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) were paired together. McCollum’s district, mostly St. Paul and and first-ring suburbs, was extended eastward to the Wisconsin border. The district now includes Woodbury and Stillwater, areas more conservative than her current constituents. Bachmann, who had said she would seek re-election regardless of how the redistricting turned out, has said that she will not be vying for McCollum’s seat but will be running again in the redesigned 6th congressional district. She has not said if she will move into the district (and she is not required to), but noted her long term ties to the district. State law requires legislative candidates to establish residence in the district where they intend to run by May 6. June 6 is the candidate filing deadline.