DFLers offer new map for US House seats

Minnesota House The DFLers unveiled a new congressional map on Tuesday that would move district boundaries for the party’s most vulnerable incumbent, as Democrats try to maintain control of Congress in the 2022 midterm elections.

The proposal taking into account the displacement of populations over the past decade is already meeting stiff resistance from the GOP in a fight likely to end in court, with the Republican-controlled Senate expected to come up with its own plan. But this is the first glimpse of the district changes proposed by Congress after months of public participation before a House redistribution committee that presented the cards on Tuesday.

“I think what I will be releasing today is the ‘People’s Map’ because it reflects as much as possible the testimony received,” said committee chair, Rep. Mary Murphy, DFL-Hermantown.

The plan would push Democratic Representative Angie Craig’s Second Congressional District, which currently stretches from the southern suburbs of Twin Cities to Wabasha County, further into Washington County. At the same time, the southern parts of his district, including Goodhue and Wabasha counties, would move to the GOP-owned First Congressional District of Minnesota.

“They went to great contortions to protect Angie Craig and Dean Phillips,” said Gregg Peppin, a Republican strategist from Minnesota, adding that the proposal “radically redesigned second and fourth to help Angie Craig.”

Craig, in his second term, is set to face an uphill battle for re-election after winning a close contest last fall against Republican Tyler Kistner, who is running again.

“The people of Minnesota deserve districts that are fair, reasonable and respectful of communities of interest,” Craig said in a statement, noting that the proposed house map is “another step in a process that will most likely be decided by the courts “.

Craig and his fellow Democrat Phillips, representing the 3rd arrondissement of the suburbs, are already at the center of the GOP election campaign as Republicans try to regain control of the chamber.

“We are confident that no matter what the district looks like, Angie Craig will lose her seat to Tyler Kistner in 2022,” Kistner’s campaign said on Tuesday ahead of the publication of the proposed lines.

In the 2020 election, Minnesota voters sent four Democrats and four Republicans to the United States House, with DFL members holding seats in the Twin Cities and two suburban districts. Republicans control the state’s most sprawling rural districts.

Minnesota narrowly managed to avoid losing a seat in Congress earlier this year following the results of the 2020 census and the nationwide redistribution of the 435 seats in the United States House. An earlier delay in census data only added to the challenges of redrawing the maps. The Minnesota Legislature faces a Feb. 15 deadline to agree on new cards, and failing to do so by then means state courts can take on the task as they have. done in the past.

GOP leader on the House Redistribution Panel Rep. Paul Torkelson R-Hanska complained that “there was no Republican participation on this map”, highlighting the partisan divide that could make it difficult the respect of the deadline of February 15.

“We heard on several occasions in the first committee meetings that the goal was to get the cards out of the committee and agree with the Senate and get cards out to the governor’s desk in time for they become law, ”Torkelson said. “It’s not a step.”

Murphy said Republicans had equal access to committee testimony and the 10 public hearings held statewide.

“I really believe we could pass a bill in the legislature this year if we worked together cooperatively,” Murphy said.

Public affairs strategist Todd Rapp, former political director of the DFL party, said the proposal would make Craig’s seat more suburban-centric. The 6th and 7th Districts, meanwhile, would likely remain under GOP control for the next decade, he said.

Rapp said he believes House Democrats have wisely avoided drastic changes in an attempt to retain some influence over the redistribution process, should it ever go to court again.

“If the legislature can’t meet – and I think there’s a good chance it won’t – then the strategy is whether or not they can encourage the courts to at least be fair. deference to the thought that every legislative body has brought before, ”said Rapp.

In June, the Minnesota Supreme Court appointed a redistribution panel of five judges to consider any challenges from newly designated state legislative and congressional districts. The panel held a series of public meetings last month to gather comment, anticipating that the judiciary would have to step in again.

Under the Feb. 15 deadline, the legislature must agree on a plan and DFL governor Tim Walz must sign to prevent court intervention.

The panel is in response to the latest in a decades-long tradition of lawsuits asking the state’s justice system to draw the political maps of Minnesota based on arguments that the legislature has failed to do so. do itself dating back to at least 1971.

Peter Wattson, a longtime former State Senate attorney and general counsel to Governor Mark Dayton, is among the Minnesota voters leading the charge in court this year. Given Minnesota’s divided legislature, he doesn’t expect a half-century change in how the redistribution has taken place.

“That’s why I suspect there hasn’t been a lot of reporting on this, because it’s nothing new,” Wattson said of the process so far. “It’s the same old, the same old: we have already done this, we know how to do it, the courts know how to do it, the parties know how to do it, the legislator knows how to do it and they are just following the path traced by their predecessors. “

Writer Briana Bierschbach contributed to this story.

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