Gerrymandering costs city legislative clout

Two veteran DFL Minneapolis lawmakers will be pitted against each other as a result of redistricting.

The political boundary changes -- announced March 19 by a special court panel -- move State Rep. Jean Wagenius into the same district as Rep. Wes Skoglund.

Both plan to seek re-election in the redrawn District 62B. Wagenius, who has served in the House since 1986, said her first literature piece for the fall election is at the printer. Skoglund has served since 1974.

The pairing of Wagenius and Skoglund deals a blow to Minneapolis' political power. "If we [the DFL] were in the majority, both Wes Skoglund and I would chair a major committee," Wagenius said. After this fall's elections, one will be out of office.

Minneapolis lost all of House District 63B to Richfield, although only a small portion of the district fell in South

Minneapolis under previous election boundaries. Much less of District 63A falls in Southwest Minneapolis.

Neither of those changes were a surprise. "We knew that Minneapolis was going to take a hit somewhere because the population hasn't increased proportionately with the population in the rest of the state," said State Rep. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis.)

Because the state Legislature was unable to approve a redistricting plan, the Special Redistricting Panel -- consisting of three state judges -- determined the congressional and state legislative boundaries on March 19. The city and county will redraw local political boundaries in March and April.

Here are some other redistricting changes or candidate announcements:

  • Rep. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis), who currently represents District 60B, which changed somewhat in redistricting, plans to seek the open Senate seat in District 60. Sen. Myron Orfield (DFL-Minneapolis), who has served one term in the Senate, announced earlier this month that he doesn't plan to seek re-election.

  • Minneapolis School Board Chair Catherine Shreves, a Fulton resident, will challenge Dibble for the DFL endorsement. Shreves is eyeing the Senate seat as opposed to Dibble's House seat because: "I'll be able to get more done if the Democrats can hold on to their majority in the Senate," she said.

  • Met Council Representative Frank Hornstein, a Linden Hills resident, will seek Dibble's House seat. The redistricting has changed District 60B to include less of the Lyndale neighborhood, more of Fulton and part of Lynnhurst.

  • Rep. Margaret Anderson Kelliher (DFL-Minneapolis) will seek re-election in District 60A, which changed only slightly, gaining part of downtown.

  • Sen. Jane Ranum (DFL-Minneapolis) will seek re-election in District 63, despite major changes in the district's boundaries. More of the district now falls in Richfield and includes several precincts in Bloomington.

    "I certainly wasn't surprised that I would get Richfield, since I already had two-thirds of it. I was very much surprised I go into Bloomington." -- Sen. Jane Ranum, DFL-63

  • District 61B, which is currently represented by Rep. Neva Walker (DFL-Minneapolis), will include all of Lyndale and a portion of Kingfield. Previously, 61B included only half of Lyndale and none of Kingfield.