With the 2012 election over, many people have noticed that the Democrats picked up some key legislative chambers. Minnesota, Colorado, Oregon, and New York (possible) now all have Democratic Legislatures and Democratic Governors.
In 2003, Republicans in Georgia and Texas gained control of the governors mansion and legislature, respectively. In both states, Republicans were ruthless and took the court-drawn map in Texas and Democratic-drawn map in Georgia and turned them into partisan Republican gerrymanders. While Texas Democrats courageously fled the state to avoid a quorum, we all know what happened in the end, and in 2004 Democrats in each of these two states were decimated.
To be sure, and to be clear, Democrats are better than this. I am personally not suggesting Democrats follow the lead of Republicans 10 years later. In fact, I am personally opposed to them doing this, because this sort of partisanship in bluish-purple, good government states is not going to fly with the public. Still, I thought this would be a fun exercise in the event that some out there want to get even.
The 2010 wave crashed hard in Minnesota, turning the legislature Republican for the first time in awhile. However, Mark Dayton gained the governorship, turning that from Republican to Democrat. With this split, a compromise court-drawn map was implemented and things were left pretty status quo. In the spirit of Texas and Georgia Republicans, let’s see what an extreme Democratic partisan gerrymander could look like.
Despite my desire to split Minneapolis and St. Paul, and I have shown how doing that really helps Democrats, I have heard the voices of our other Minnesota posters and have not split either city. Otherwise though, I did not adhere to any rules. This means I split plenty of counties. My objective is to elect as many Democrats as possible, even if that means electing moderates or blue dog Democrats. I did not pay attention to where current congresspeople live.
1st District (Blue)
Mankato and Rochester anchor this district, and I have kept all of Northfield (which crosses Rice and Dakota counties) in this district. I kept the two counties covered by the South Dakota media market out of here. Tim Walz is a good fit for this district and fairly easily survived 2010, and the district did not change much with the court-drawn map. Walz got 58% in 2012 but he had a weak opponent. Obama got 51% in the court-drawn district and 52% in this district. Rochester, the main population center, is trending blue. Likely D with Walz, probably Lean D in an open seat situation, given Rochester’s trend.
2nd District (Green)
Southern Twin Cities Suburbs
This district contains court counties as well as a small area (to make it bluer) of Hennepin County: blue Richfield and blue east Bloomington. The court-drawn map made this district bluer in 2011, but John Kline is fairly well entrenched here. District went from 48% Obama to 52% Obama in the court-drawn map. In this map, Obama also got 52% and Dem performance is 52%. Kline got 54% in 2012 but Dems didn’t put resources here and given the demographics of the district, we could put all of the resources we throw away trying to get rid of Bachmann into this district instead. It’s probably Lean R with Kline, but with resources invested and a great candidate, even with Kline this could be Tossup.
3rd District (Purple)
Western Hennepin County, Carver County, Western Wright County, St. Cloud
This is the first district that is dramatically different from the court map. Unfortunately, Erik Paulsen is a strong candidate and we’d need a wave to boot him. The court map made this district redder, going from 52% Obama to 51% Obama. Obama only got 51% in this map, so it’s redder still. Since Paulsen is so strong, and got 58% in 2012, this is Safe R. If this was an open seat, Tossup.
4th District (Red)
Saint Paul, Maplewood, Washington, Chisago, Isanti Counties, extreme northern Anoka County
Betty McCollum would be kicking and screaming how screwed she got with this district, given her complaints that her district went from 64% Obama to 63% Obama in the court-drawn map. But I kept St. Paul whole and don’t really care for her self-interest. Even with all of that red added to the district in the northern parts, this is still 60% Obama and 59% Dem performance. This is still Safe D.
5th District (Yellow)
Minneapolis, Robbinsdale, Maple Grove, Rogers, northeastern Wright County
Keith Ellison has been more willing to give up some Dem votes to help us out. I kept Minneapolis whole but went out to the northwest to grab some very red populated areas. The court-drawn map dropped Obama performance from 74% to 73% but this map drops it to 67%. Dem performance is 66%. This is still Safe D.
6th District (Teal)
Northern Ramsey County, most of Anoka County, Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center in Hennepin County
Bye bye Michele Bachmann. This stays a northern Twin Cities Suburbs district, but takes in blue suburbs that aren’t really exurbs. The court-drawn map actually made this district redder, from 45% Obama to 43% Obama. Despite that, I was surprised that Bachmann barely scrapped by in 2012, winning by only around 4000 votes. This district is 52% Obama and 52% Dem performance. With Bachmann this is Likely D given her under-performance. Without her, it’s probably Lean D.
7th District (Grey)
Collin Peterson is undefeatable. He survived 2010 easily and got over 60% in this 47% Obama district in 2012. I’ve kept St. Cloud out of this district. The district actually is redder than it currently is, at 46% Obama. Dem performance is 47%. Peterson is safe here but should he retire this decade (which is probably likely), as long as the Dem candidate is from the more rural areas rather than the Fargo or Grand Forks suburbs in Minnesota, we’d have a fighting chance. Safe D with Peterson, Tossup otherwise.
8th District (Slate Blue)
Iron Range district, going west to pick up some bluer parts in the northwest.
Rick Nolan is a good fit for the district, and he’ll probably be here to stay through the decade despite being a bit old. This is a district that may be getting away from Democrats over time, so I’ve put some Indian Reservations in the northwest in here while trying to keep red areas out. The current district went for Obama by 53% in 2008. It’s actually 54% Obama now (because we took out Isanti and Chisago Counties, no doubt) and Rick Nolan easily beat Chip Cravaack in 2012 by 9 points. The district might give us trouble down the road in an open seat situation but for now it’s Safe D.
By my count:
Current Delegation is 5-3. This map would be 6-1-1 with the current delegation. MN-3 is the Republican district and MN-2 is the swing district. If all seats were open seats, we’re at 5-0-3.
Stearns (2 ways)
Dakota (2 ways)
Wright (2 ways)
Hennepin (4 ways)
Ramsey (2 ways)
Anoka (2 ways)
Sherburne (3 ways)
So based on feedback about rules in MN, I've made some changes.
1st: 51% O, 46% M, Likely D with Walz
2nd: 51% O, 47% M, Likely R with Kline, Toss-Up otherwise
3rd: 54% O, 44% M, Tilt (Lean?) D with Paulsen, Likely D otherwise
4th: 62% O, 36% M, Safe D
5th: 69% O, 29% M, Safe D
6th: 44% O, 54% M, Tilt R (Toss-up?) with Bachmann, Likely R otherwise
7th: 48% O, 50% M, Safe D with Petersen, Toss-Up otherwise
8th: 53% O, 45% M, Safe D with Nolan, Lean D otherwise
2nd contains Northfield and southern Washington County now
3rd contains all of Carver but also the bluest suburbs (Minnetonka, St. Louis Park, Golden Valley, Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center)
4th contains all of Ramsey and northern half of Washington County and southern parts of Chisago
5th grabs Minneapolis, a single Bloomington precint for population equity, red northwestern suburbs, and red parts of Blaine
6th has all of Wright, Isanti, and northern Chisago counties, St. Cloud area
Gave Alexandria and Douglas County to the 8th while giving the reservations back to the seventh.
County splits: Wadena, Stearns, Benton, Anoka, Chisago, Rice, Washington, Hennepin (twice)