Redistricting prompts political shakeup

Chanhassen Villager (MN) - Thursday, February 23, 2012
A special Minnesota judicial panel released its redistricting plan for Minnesota on Tuesday afternoon. 

As expected, there were some major changes that re-flect Carver County's 30 percent population growth between 2000 and 2010. Among the biggest changes - the new Second Congressional District, currently represented by U.S. Congressman John Kline, no longer includes Carver County. 

"It's been an honor for him to serve Carver County for basically the last 10 years and he'll continue to serve [the county] for the next nine or 10 months," said Kline's communication director Troy Young. "We're disappointed to see Carver County move out of the Second District." Carver County will instead be split between the Third and Sixth Congressional districts. 

The Third Congressional District would represent the northeastern Carver County towns of Chaska, Chanhassen and Victoria. The Carver County cities would join the district (wrapped like a crescent around Minneapolis and its inner ring suburbs) with other western and northern outer-ring suburbs such as Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Bloomington, Maple Grove and Coon Rapids. 

The Third District is currently represented by Erik Paulsen (R-Eden Prairie), whose home would remain in the district. "I'm excited to represent my parents where I grew up in Chanhassen," said Paulsen, a 1983 Chaska High School graduate. 

Paulsen said he cal led his parents, Jerry and Jan Paulsen, after the redistricting map was released. "I said, 'Now you can send me letters,'" he said. 

SIXTH DISTRICT The city of Carver, now in the Sixth District, is split off from other eastern Carver County towns in the Congressional move. It joins western Carver County as the southern tip of the new Sixth District, which now stretches north to St. Cloud and around the north metro. 

The Sixth District is currently represented by Michele Bachmann (R-Sti l lwater), whose home of Stillwater now ends up in Betty McCollum's district. However, Bachmann announced Tuesday that she still plans to run in the Sixth District. 

STATE LEGISLATURE The panel splits Carver County into two state senate districts, with 12, 049 residents in District 33 and 78, 993 residents in District 47. 

Most of the county is in Senate District 47. House District 47A covers Carver, Cologne, Waconia and the rural areas of Carver County. Meanwhile, 47B will represent the more densely populated eastern portion of the county - Chaska and most of Victoria and Chanhassen. 

The northeast corner of Carver County, a large portion of Chanhassen, is now in Senate District 33 and House District 33B. This district will also represent most of the Lake Minnetonka communities. 

None of the three state politicians currently representing Carver County have been kicked out of their district with the new boundaries. Representatives Ernie Leidiger and Joe Hoppe and Sen. Julianne Ortman all live in a redrawn district without another incumbent. 

"It's hard to complain. It was a great district, and I think it will be again," said Hoppe, now in 47B. Ortman, now in 47, said she was "very happy" with her new district. She remains hopeful that, come Election Day, the GOP Senate will maintain its majority status. "We have some work to do, but we're ready to do it," She said. 

Leidiger did not return calls seeking comment.