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GOP unveils (another) bad congressional map

by Joe Bodell on May 9, 2011 · 29 comments

The GOP, through scion Sarah Anderson, has revealed their non-starter plan for revamping Minnesota’s congressional map.

The map has several issues. Tim Walz’s First district actually isn’t half bad — the district has lost population, and needs to absorb some. The GOP’s plan accomplishes this by tying in Redwood, Yellow Medicine, and several other counties currently in the southern part of CD7.

CD2 also doesn’t change dramatically — it expands to the west a little and loses some areas of Glencoe McLeod and Carver Counties, which have grown in the past ten years.

CD3 is a joke. It’s perfectly fine to admit that the west metro is a tough area to tie into a single district — either you include part of Anoka County along with Bloomington, on opposite sides of the cities, or absorb some areas further to the west, but Glencoe McLeod County has absolutely nothing to do with the middle-ring suburbs in Hennepin County. The current boundary, which includes areas to the north like Coon Rapids, would be preferable to this.

CDs 4 and 5 appear to be about the same as they are currently. Amazingly, the GOP appears to have gone against its own historical platform plank of packing Minneapolis and St. Paul into a single district, and admitted to itself that such a plan would be struck down faster than you can say “Voting Rights Act.”

CD6 and CD7 are going to be a problem as well. Since large areas in CD6 have grown rapidly in the past decade, that district has to shrink — but since this is a GOP plan, it also has to be able to protect Michele Bachmann in the event that her presidential campaign/media efforts/concert tour don’t pan out. The result is what appears to be a weaker GOP lean for CD6 (assuming that a candidate like Bachmann can keep it together) and a CD7 that stretches from east to west across the state, splitting agricultural areas in western Minnesota in two.

This also forces CD8 to stretch across the state from Duluth and the Arrowhead all the way to North Dakota. *This means that current CD8 Representative Chip Cravaack would reside in CD7 — not a problem constitutionally, but living outside one’s district is generally not seen as a positive thing. Would Cravaack run against Collin Peterson and try to turn his 2010 trick a second time, or would he move to remain in CD8, which might be slightly better for a GOP candidate with northwestern areas tied in?

Tarryl Clark is also, no doubt, poring over this map (as she will other proposals) to see what effect it will have on her recently announced bid for CD8 — exactly where will CD8 be?

In any case, she probably won’t have to worry about this map getting implemented. Recent redistricting adventures have indicated a preference among the powers-that-be for a single “across the state” district — in the 2002 districts, that was CD1, but this map has three. It splits communities of interest, creates some weird shapes in the center of the state, and looks a little too much like an incumbent protection racket instead of a fair assessment of population shifts.

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