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DFL redistricting map pits McCollum against Bachmann

A redesigned congressional district map would put Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum and Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann in one district beginning next election.

A redesigned congressional district map proposed by the Minnesota DFL Party on Friday would put Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum and Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann in one district beginning next election. McCollum’s chief of staff called the map “hyper partisan and bizarre.”

The map would create a single district out of Washington and Ramsey counties, meaning if each incumbent chose to run for re-election in 2012, they’d run against against one another in a newly designed 4th District. Roughly 62 percent of the newly designed district voted for Barack Obama in 2008, according to a MinnPost analysis.

McCollum currently represents Minnesota’s 4th District, which consists of St. Paul and its inner suburbs. Bachmann represents the 6th District, which starts at the Minnesota-Wisconsin border in Washington County, where Bachmann lives, and curves around the Twin Cities to the northwest, up through St. Cloud.

“The DFL Chair and his high paid lawyers have proposed a congressional map to the redistricting panel that is hyper-partisan and bizarre,” McCollum’s chief of staff Bill Harper said in a statement. “Their plan ignores the judge’s redistricting criteria and it insults established communities of interest, particularly in the East Metro. Congresswoman McCollum has faith in the judges on the panel to draw fair political boundaries that will serve the best interests of all Minnesotans.”

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A Bachmann spokeswoman declined to comment on the new map. The third-term congresswoman has not yet decided whether she’ll seek re-election, since she’s currently running for president.

Under the DFL’s plan, Rep. Chip Cravaack would represent the new 6th District, which would stretch from Sterns County to Chisago County, where Cravaack lives. It would be a much safer for the freshman Republican than the one he currently represents, the Democratic-leaning 8th, which would be an open seat in the 2012 election under the DFL plan.

Lawmakers are engaged in their once-decennial fight over redrawing the state’s congressional and legislative district boundaries. The task has fallen to a court panel since the Republican-led Legislature and DFL Gov. Mark Dayton failed to agree on a map during the legislative session.

The DFL map is one of three submitted to the court on Friday. Republicans submitted a plan identical to the one the Legislature passed and Dayton vetoed in May. That plan creates eight safe districts — four for each party — by pulling what is now the 7th District across the northern portions of the state. Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson, who has represented the (currently vertical) 7th District since 1991, was highly critical of the plan.

A third map, submitted by a Democratic lawyer not associated with the DFL, would stretch Peterson’s district down the entire western border of the state. The 2nd District would bleed into the middle portions of the Minnesota and the 1st District would gain territory to the north. Every incumbent would continue to represent their current district. All documents submitted to the panel are available here.

Devin Henry can be reached at dhenry@minnpost.com