Leglislative Redistricting 22 Feb 12

Minnesota’s new legislative district maps would put 46 legislators in districts with other incumbents and create 23 open seats, but it’s unclear whether the map will change the partisan balance in the GOP-controlled Legislature.

The new House maps released Tuesday pair 30 incumbents against each other and create 15 open seats. The House gets six districts with two incumbent Republicans, six with two incumbent Democrats, plus three Democrat-Republican pairings.

The new Senate maps pit 16 incumbents against each other and create eight open seats. The Senate gets four districts with two incumbent Republicans, two with two Democratic incumbents, and two Democrat-Republican conflicts.

Rep. Sarah Anderson, R-Plymouth, who chaired the House redistricting committee, said she had yet to closely analyze how the new maps might change the political landscape. But she said she would have expected to see fewer Republicans paired against each other because GOP-leaning districts averaged higher population growth than Democratic districts since the maps were last redrawn 10 years ago.

Anderson said the main thing that struck her, however, was that 89 communities that will be split into two districts, while a plan backed by GOP legislators divided 50 fewer. She said she’s concerned that will confuse voters and add to the costs of conducting elections.

Redrawn maps can be seen online at www.mncourts.gov.