Friday, December 21, 2012

Minnesota Redistricting 7-1 Democratic

After a yearlong absence, my redistricting map posts are back!

Although the 2011 redistricting season has passed and the next redistricting will take place around 2020, Minnesota has the possibility of undergoing mid decade redistricting. In 2010, Republicans and Democrats had split control of the state Government with Democrats controlling the Governorship and Republicans controlling the Legislature. Democrats now control the Legislature though so they have the trifecta. Currently, the map is 5-3 Democratic but with a bit of redistricting, Democrats can bring it up to 7-1 Democratic without splitting St. Paul and Minneapolis which is a big no no in Minnesota redistricting. I am not sure if Minnesota will undergo mid decade redistricting but if Minnesota did, I would recommend this map. In this map, besides not splitting the Twin Cities, I created a Republican vote sink in the western suburbs that combined John Kline's home with most of Michelle Bachmann's district. I also made the 3rd district more Democratic and changed its configuration greatly. The reason is that many of the incumbents such as Erik Paulsen (R) and John Kline (R) have become entrenched so I added unfamiliar territory to their districts. Anyway, here is the map.


Data for the districts (the AA stands for African American.)

Minnesota's 1st District: Tim Walz (D) Rochester, southern Minnesota (blue)
Although this district barely voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012, Walz should probably win here. He has become entrenched after his 2006 win and won easily in 2010 and 2012. This district undergoes minimal changes, losing two conservative western rural counties and replacing them with two conservative counties Sibley and LeSeur. They do not alter the district makeup much and Walz keeps most of his constituents. 
Likely Democratic

Twin Cities and exurbs

Minnesota's 2nd District: Vacant Northfield, Dakota County, Washington County (green) 
This district contains parts of Rep. John Kline's (R) current district but Kline may not run here because this district supported Obama by 9 points in 2008 (Obama won Minnesota by 9 points in 2008 so this matches his statewide average,) and Kline's home of Lakeville is in the more conservative 6th district. Kline faced a tougher reelection campaign than expected in 2012, winning with 54% of the vote. This new district though adds unfamiliar territory for Kline where he is not entrenched while eliminating Scott and Goodhue Counties which gave him a combined 21,000 vote margin (his overall margin was 29,000 votes.) The 2nd district also loses conservative parts of Dakota County. Kline won 52% in Dakota County. The district retains Democratic parts of Rice County though which voted 40% for Kline. The 2nd district also adds new territory including central Washington County as well as some Democratic leaning St. Paul suburbs in Ramsey County. These voters are unfamiliar with Kline and it will be harder for him to win them. The 2008 Obama percentage goes up from 51% to 53% as well. The higher percentage may encourage some strong Democrats to run which will be hard for Kline because he has not faced a tough challenge since 2002. If Kline opts for the 6th district, he will have a difficult primary with Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R) but since most of the new 6th district is new territory for her, she may have trouble winning the primary, especially if she is too extreme. 
Tossup/Tilt Democratic if Kline runs, Lean Democratic if not 

Minnesota's 3rd District: Vacant Brooklyn Park, Coon Rapids (purple)
Rep. Erik Paulsen (R) will probably run in this district after it is increased from 50% to 56% Obama but he probably will lose. The reason is that he was entrenched in a swing district that contained the outer suburbs in Hennepin County so he did well there but the 3rd district adds Edina and a few other heavily Democratic suburbs bordering Minneapolis. The 3rd district also loses the conservative exurbs in western Hennepin County including Eden Prairie, Paulsen's home. These stronger Democratic lines should attract a strong Democratic challenger instead of the token opposition Paulsen faced in 2010 and 2012. The 3rd is at 56% Obama even without splitting Minneapolis and although it splits counties, I had to do so for population reasons.
Lean Democratic

Minnesota's 4th District: Betty McCollum (D) St. Paul, northern Anoka County (red)
This district loses most of the close in St. Paul suburbs and gains conservative areas such as northern Anoka County and Isanti County to remove them from the 6th and 8th districts. These changes bring down Obama's 2008 percentage to 58.7% and his 2012 percentage is probably 56%-57%. St. Paul does not ticket split in local races and it has high turnout so it should be enough to anchor McCollum. She may have to fight a bit more to keep her seat but she should still win.

Minnesota's 5th District: Keith Ellison (D) vs. Erik Paulsen (R) Minneapolis, Eden Prairie (yellow)
I placed Paulsen's home in this district but I doubt Paulsen would run in this district which voted 68% for Obama. The 5th district becomes more Republican by losing Democratic suburbs such as Edina and gains western Hennepin County which is exurban, conservative and resembles Sherburne County more than it resembles Minneapolis. These exurban areas also are staunchly Republican (especially in local races unlike the 7th district which is Republican nationally but Democratic in local races.) These changes make the 3rd district more Democratic while keeping the 5th safely in Democratic hands. The 5th also does not split any counties and it splits as few towns as possible, keeping Eden Prairie and Bloomington 100% intact.

Minnesota's 6th District: John Kline (R) vs. Michelle Bachmann (R): Lakeville, Carver County, Sherburne County (teal)
Bachmann and Kline will probably face each other in this extremely conservative district. It is 1 point more Republican than Bachmann's current district so Bachmann would be even safer here. I wanted to sacrifice her though for opening up the 2nd and 3rd districts to Democratic challenges. Also, Kline's home is in the district so he may prefer to run here and he would face an easy reelection if he won the primary. Bachmann will be able to fundraise easily but if the Republican Party does try to moderate itself, Bachmann may be in trouble. She is not popular in her district after her Presidential run (she won by only two points in 2012 despite her money advantage,) so if Kline can exploit that (and win big margins in his current district and Carver County which he represented until 2010,) he could win.

Minnesota 7th District: Collin Peterson (D) west Minnesota (gray)
Besides trading a few counties around the edges, the 7th district remains the same. These counties may lean Republican but they are strongly Democratic in statewide and local races. It is still Republican leaning but Peterson is very popular and he should hold it as long as he is in office.

Minnesota's 8th District: Rick Nolan (D) St. Cloud, Duluth, northeastern Minnesota (light purple)
I strengthened Nolan a bit by removing fast growing exurban areas in Chisago and Isanti Counties. I then added St. Cloud which is a swing area (the counties around it are Republican because the exurbs there are conservative even though the city of St. Cloud is pretty even politically.) Besides these changes, the district remains centered around the Iron Range. Nolan performed fine here in 2012, winning by 8 points against former Rep. Chip Craavack (R) but this district is still moving away from the Democrats so removing Isanti and part of Chisago will help Nolan because those areas are fast growing and trending Republican quickly. 


Ed said...

Minnesota is a clean government state, so a mid-decade redistricting will probably backfire (and the Republicans got mixed results from their attempts to do this in Texas and Georgia). But at least the lines are clean. Unusually for gerrymanders, four of these districts are pretty competitive, but drawn in a way to tilt Democratic.

One thing that I've not seen before in these exercises it the combination of very blue central cities and very red exurbs, with a corridor connecting them that excludes inner suburban territory. With the Democratic trend in inner suburbs, this is something for the Democrats to try and the Republicans to avoid.

Alibguy said...

Yeah, I do not see Minnesota undergoing mid decade redistricting. It's a good government state.

Thanks, I wanted to keep the exurban areas in Hennepin County out of the 3rd district so I decided to send the 5th around the 3rd to get them and I even added in Eden Prairie which is Paulsen's home.

I drew similar lines on the 4th too.