As the clock struck noon on Feb. 15, most activities at the Minnesota Capitol came to a standstill. The reason? The highly anticipated new legislative and congressional maps were released by the five-member panel appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court. This came after the legislature failed to find a compromise of its own in drawing the maps.
The newly drawn districts took a “least changes” approach in order to accommodate the population shifts that have taken place since the last time the maps were drawn in 2012. This likely results in an opportunity for both parties to control a chamber or both chambers of the legislature over the course of the next decade. Minnesota is currently one of only a handful of states with a split legislature.
“Swing districts will remain swing districts,” Todd Rapp, a DFL operative told the Star Tribune. “The good Democratic districts will remain good Democratic districts. The good Republican districts will remain good Republican districts.”
Dozens of legislative incumbents also found themselves “paired” with their colleagues in the same district, including House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (who was paired with fellow Republican Rep. Sondra Erickson) and Senate Minority Leader Melisa Lopez Franzen (who was paired with fellow DFL Sen. Ron Latz). A combination of retirements, running for other offices, primaries and general election races will ultimately settle who will remain in the legislature.