WASHINGTON — A state court panel has released the new congressional district lines, pairing up U.S. Reps. Betty McCollum and Michele Bachmann and leaving open the 6th District Bachmann has represented since 2007. Bachmann says she plans on seeking the 6th District seat anyway.
“For the last two weeks I’ve been letting it known to people that wherever the heart of the 6th District would be, that’s where I would be running for re-election,” Bachmann told MinnPost. “What I wanted to do is make it unequivocally clear today that I am going to be seeking re-election in the 6th Congressional District.”
All other congressional incumbents, including Republican Chip Cravaack, who represents liberal northern Minnesota but lives in the more conservative exurbs of Minneapolis, remain in their current districts.
The new map keeps the same basic design of the current one: one district for each Minneapolis and St. Paul, three suburban districts wrapping around the metropolitan area and three out-state districts, the southern 1st, the western 7th and the 8th, which extends from the Iron Range through Duluth down to Chisago County.
The McCollum-Bachmann pairing was pushed by the state DFL Party, which was anxious to see the conservative Bachmann run against the liberal McCollum in a district that is heavily Democratic. But Congress does not have residency requirements (you only need to live in the state you plan to represent in Congress, not the specific district), so with her 6th District still open, Bachmann said she will run there. She has not yet decided if she will move from Stillwater, now in the 4th District, to the 6th.
Republicans in the state Legislature had approved a redistricting plan that would have created an 8th District spanning the entire northern portion of the state, from Duluth in the east to the Red River Valley along the North Dakota border. Doing so would have created a strongly Democratic district represented by current 7th District Rep. Collin Peterson. The new seventh would have run along the middle portions of the state, and it would have been a more reliably conservative district for first-term incumbent Republican Cravaack, who lives in Chisago County. Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed the plan.
But the court panel charged with drawing the new lines rejected both the DFL and Republican maps, adapting “a least-change plan to the extent possible,” according to their ruling.
“Our adoption of a least-change congressional plan is consistent with the legal principles governing a judicially created redistricting plan and with the urgings of numerous citizens throughout Minnesota who participated in the public hearing-andcomment process,” they wrote.
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