New maps carve up countyMinnesota's newly drawn legislative districts is likely to draw a common reaction in Douglas County: What?! The lines had been simple before. All of Douglas County was located in Senate District 11, represented by Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, and on the House side, the county was split almost in half between 11A, represented by Torrey Westrom, R-Elbow Lake, and 11B, represented by Mary Franson, R-Alexandria.
By: Al Edenloff, Amy Chaffins and Crystal Dey, Alexandria Echo Press
Minnesota's newly drawn legislative districts is likely to draw a common reaction in Douglas County: What?!
The lines had been simple before. All of Douglas County was located in Senate District 11, represented by Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, and on the House side, the county was split almost in half between 11A, represented by Torrey Westrom, R-Elbow Lake, and 11B, represented by Mary Franson, R-Alexandria.
The changes announced Tuesday carves Douglas County up into two Senate districts – 8 and 12 – and three House districts – 8B, 12A and 12B (see map).
The fallout from the new lines will take time to settle as senators and representatives analyze the districts and determine their next steps but here's how things shape up right now:
Ingebrigtsen is now in the same district, District 8, as fellow Republican senator, Gretchen Hoffman of Vergas.
The Senate District 12 seat is open since no incumbent lives within that newly drawn area.
On the House side, Franson is now in the same district, 8B, as fellow Republican representative, Mark Murdock of Otter Tail. Murdock, however, has announced that he will not run again.
Westrom, meanwhile, has District 12A to himself, as does Paul Anderson, R-Starbuck in District 12B.
Further complicating things is that the city of Alexandria is now split into two districts, although most of the city, 10,415 residents, will now live in District 8 while 655 residents are located in District 12.
Under state law, a legislative candidate must live in the district at least six months before the November 6 election day.
One thing about the new boundaries is simple: Douglas County remains in the 7th Congressional District represented by Collin Peterson.
The Echo Press contacted some of the local legislators in the newly drawn districts for reaction and comment. Here’s what they had to say:
One day after the new legislative district maps were released, Senator Ingebrigtsen was still exploring his future political options.
“I’m in the process of talking with Senator Gretchen Hoffman right now,” Ingebrigtsen said.
Hoffman, also a Republican, currently represents Otter Tail County. In the redistricting, Ingebrigtsen will move from representing Stevens, Grant, Douglas and Todd counties to Otter Tail and the northeast corner of Douglas counties.
Ingebrigtsen described the new district lines as “wild” but added, “This isn’t about us. It’s about the folks being represented properly.”
“We’re still contemplating what we’re going to do, officially,” Ingebrigtsen said. “One of the two of us will jump into it.”
Ingebrigtsen said he’d announce on Friday whether he or Hoffman would run for the new District 8 Senate seat.
“There are still lots of opportunities with an open Senate seat now in [Representative Torrey Westrom’s] area and even in the house. We’re just not sure what’s going to happen yet,” he said.
Representative Franson said she’s excited about the change of territory that comes with redistricting.
She’s already started planning for fall elections, but now, her direction will shift a bit. Previously, Franson represented Todd County and a portion of Douglas County. The new maps have drastically changed her zone. She lost all of Todd County and gained a majority of the eastern half of Otter Tail County
“I was expecting to possibly lose half of Todd County. I braced for that,” Franson said.
Franson said she’ll be learning more about Otter Tail County in the weeks ahead.
“I believe that I’ve done a good job representing the area I currently hold and I believe I would do just as great a job representing the new area,” Franson said.
Her area also now contains a larger part of the city of Alexandria and she said she looks forward to representing the majority of the city.
Franson said she and Ingebrigtsen are similar in that they currently hold office. Although, she said, just because they’re incumbents doesn’t mean they have a golden ticket. “You have to work for it,” she said.
Franson plans to work for it as she gears up for the door-knocking season in Otter Tail and Douglas counties.
While some candidates are relying on more social media tactics, Franson believes social media, which she uses, is an enhancement not a replacement for human-to-human contact.
“Social media cannot take the place of shaking someone’s hand,” she said.
Representative Torrey Westrom’s district changed dramatically.
He loses portions of eastern and southern Douglas County but picks up the western half of Pope County, along with Big Stone, Traverse and Wilkin counties.
Westrom said his new District 12A is similar to District 13A, which he represented 10 years ago, except that 12A excludes any of Swift and adds Wilkin and the southern part of Big Stone counties. He noted that it also includes more of Douglas County than the old 13A District.
When asked how the new lines will affect his re-election plans for 2012, Westrom said, “It may not – but stay tuned.”
The new district map will shift two-term legislator Paul Anderson northward to represent a corner of Douglas County in the state House.
Currently, Anderson represents District 13A, which includes Pope County, the west half of Stearns County and a northern section of Kandiyohi County.
Redistricting moved his district lines to now include the east half of Pope County, the southeast corner of Douglas County and a slightly larger segment of western Stearns County.
“I’m very happy with my new district,” Anderson said. “I’m glad that I picked up a portion of Douglas County and I look forward to meeting people in the area. I’m looking forward to running again.”
Anderson is a farmer in rural Starbuck and was elected to the House in 2008.
Here's the population breakdown of the new districts within Douglas County:
District 8 – 23,137
District 12 – 12,872
District 8B – 23,137
District 12A – 5,181
District 12B – 7,691
NEW MAPS PAIR INCUMBENTS
Highlights from the new Minnesota House district maps:
-- 30 House members paired with other representatives
-- 15 House seats with no incumbent
-- Six DFL vs. DFL pairings
-- Six GOP vs. GOP pairings
-- Three DFL vs. GOP pairings
Highlights from the new Minnesota Senate district maps:
-- 16 incumbents paired with other senators
-- Eight Senate seats with no incumbent
-- Two DFL vs. DFL pairings
-- Four GOP vs. GOP pairings
-- Two GOP vs. DFL pairings
Source: Legislative Coordinating Commission's Geographic Information Services