The Minnesota House GOP’s recently released congressional redistricting map, authored by Rep. Sarah Anderson, is a rather devious little gerrymander. It solves the “Peterson problem” for the GOP in a creative way, handing him a more liberal district than even Jim Oberstar had while at the same time drawing Chip Cravaack a considerably more conservative district than the one he is currently Representing.
Additionally Michele Bachmann’s CD6 remains largely intact and Eric Paulson’s CD3 gets slightly more red. The surprise is that the House Education Committee Chairman, Rep. John Kline, doesn’t get any help, in fact his CD2 gets slightly more blue. On the DFL side CDs 1, 4 and 5 don’t change much at all in terms of partisans.
Here’s what the Obama percentages in the districts would look like under the Anderson plan (current Obama percentages in parenthesis) [this information was obtained by plotting the Anderson map in Dave's Redistricting App which does not go down to the block level, so these numbers are not exact, they are however close enough for this analysis]:
CD1: 51% (51%)
CD2: 49% (48%)
CD3: 50% (52%)
CD4: 64% (64%)
CD5: 74% (74%)
CD6: 45% (45%)
CD7: 45% (47%)
CD8: 56% (53%)
As I alluded to in the first paragraph, the main thrust of this plan is to solve the “Peterson problem” for the GOP. What is the “Peterson problem” you ask? Let me explain.
As it is currently drawn, CD7 is a natural GOP district with an R+5 tilt that is held by a DFLer, albeit a very conservative DFLer, but a DFLer nonetheless. Collin Peterson fits his district rather well ideologically, so from the DFLs perspective it doesn’t really matter that he’s on the conservative end of the spectrum because the district he represents is conservative.
This is seen in the SILVER scores for the Minnesota delegation. For those who aren’t familiar with them, SILVER scores are a measure of how partisan a legislator is in the context of the district they represent. The purpose is to measure the amount of partisan value a legislator provides to a party over or under what would be expected.
Collin Peterson’s SILVER score is -.04, about even. He’s really conservative for a Democrat, but he represents a conservative district and it all comes out in the wash. But if you move Collin Peterson from his R+5 district to what would be a more liberal district than the current CD8, all of a sudden he becomes an asset for the GOP; a conservative Democrat in a liberal district.
Since the GOP can’t beat Peterson in the 7th, they simply move him to a different, more liberal, district and let the DFL deal with it. It’s a truly devious little maneuver by the GOP, but unfortunately for them Tom Emmer did not win the Governor’s race and I don’t see Mark Dayton coming anywhere close to signing onto this plan.