ST. PAUL — Minnesota House Democrats revealed their proposal for new Congressional districts Tuesday, Nov. 23, but much as is the case with the legislative map, a judicial panel will likely have the final say.
The map released by DFL members of the House Redistricting Committee proposes significant geographic revisions to many of Minnesota's eight congressional districts, and had no input from House Republicans, according to Rep. Paul Torkelson, R-Hanska, the top Republican on the committee.
"Neither of these maps are a step in the right direction; these are highly partisan," Torkelson said at a Tuesday afternoon hearing on the map, referencing the Congressional map and a Legislative map proposal Democrats released last week.
Rep. Mary Murphy, DFL-Hermantown, the committee chair, said she felt it was necessary to have proposed maps serve as a starting point for the conversation about redistricting.
Minnesota lawmakers started seeking public input and developing new legislative and Congressional maps after receiving new data from the 2020 Census in August — much later than usual. Lawmakers usually expect census results by February. Under new guidelines, the ideal size for a Congressional district in Minnesota is now 713,112
Much like the new proposed legislative maps revealed by committee Democrats last week, the proposed Congressional districts are unlikely to get support from the Republican-controlled Senate. The deadline to get new districts to the Governor's desk for final approval is Feb. 15, and with an already accelerated turnaround, a judicially appointed panel has already been working on maps of its own.
In June, the Minnesota Supreme Court appointed a five-judge panel in anticipation of a task it's already had to complete itself for the last 50 years — making the final call on redistricting.
Among the most immediately noticeable changes in the proposed map is Minnesota's 8th District — which covers the northeastern part of the state and includes Duluth, Brainerd and the Iron Range. Under the proposed map, the district would span the entire northern third of the state and include Bemidji, East Grand Forks, and most of Minnesota's Indian Reservations. Rep. Pete Stauber, a Republican, currently represents the 8th District.
The proposal would remove the northern region of the state's western 7th District, formerly home to longtime Democratic Congressman Collin Peterson and now represented by Republican Michelle Fischbach.
Other notable changes include:
- Shifting Minnesota's 1st District east and north, eliminating far southwestern rural counties. Republican Jim Hagedorn is the district's representative.
- The 2nd District, represented by Democrat Angie Craig, would shed its southern rural counties and absorb part of suburban St. Paul's Washington County.
The House Redistricting committee is hosting two opportunities for public comment on the proposed districts at hearings starting at 11 a.m. Dec. 1 and 7 p.m. Dec. 2. For more information on the remote hearing including how to sign up, visit www.house.leg.state.mn.us/live/1.
Torkelson said Republicans could reveal maps of their own at some point in early December.