Redistricting sets up Southwest DFL face-off

Frank Hornstein and Marion Greene consider themselves good friends and political allies, but a redistricting plan will force the two state representatives to face off in hopes of getting an endorsement from their DFL neighbors.

A redistricting panel appointed by Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea paired several incumbent state representatives and senators, including Greene and Hornstein in a new House District 61A.

“It’s going to be absolutely positive,” Greene said of her race against Hornstein. “We want to offer the voters a choice. We both feel very passionately about what we’re doing.”

Every 10 years, the state must re-draw lines after the U.S. Census comes out. This time, Minneapolis is guaranteed to lose at least one state representative and one state senator, and possible a second state representative. One of them will be either Greene or Hornstein.

While the city’s population was stagnant since 2000, the rest of the state’s population grew, meaning fewer representatives would live in Minneapolis.

The new boundaries also paired Scott Dibble and Ken Kelash, both DFL state senators who live in Southwest. Dibble lives in Uptown and Kelash lives in the Kenny neighborhood.

They, however, won’t have to run against each other in what will be called Senate District 61, because Kelash has announced that he intends to move to Richfield and run for a new Senate District 50 seat that also includes Bloomington.

Things weren’t so easy for Hornstein and Greene.

Both said they intend to abide by a potential March 24 endorsement by their DFL peers from the new district.

“We’re good friends and we’ll remain so,” Hornstein said. “I think we’ll continue to have a good, friendly race and I think that’s because of our strong relationship going into this.”

The new House District 61A includes much of the neighborhoods of Loring Park, East Isles, Lowry-Hill East, Kenwood, Cedar-Isles-Dean, West Calhoun, Linden Hills and Fulton.

Greene had already represented most of that area, except for Linden Hills, West Calhoun and Fulton.

Much of the remaining neighborhoods will fall into House District 61B, where current state Rep. Paul Thissen lives. To see which of the new districts you live in, visit www.gis.leg.mn/html/redistricting.html.

Hornstein is a 23-year resident of Southwest Minneapolis and he and his wife have raised three children in the city. He’s served in the Legislature for 10 years and prior to that represented all of the new HD61A for the Met Council.

Greene has lived in an East Isles condo for about 11 years, currently residing with her husband and two stepdaughters. Prior to that, she lived for two years in Linden Hills.

She is in the second year of her first term in the House. She also managed the campaign of former Speaker of the House Margaret Anderson Kelliher.

It is likely to be an interesting race. Both candidates are progressive liberals vying for a seat in one of the further left-leaning districts in the state.  

“I’m running to continue my work to promote transit and renewable energy and to advocate for human rights and equality,” Hornstein said in a press release. “During my time at the legislature, I’ve learned how to build coalitions to pass legislation that makes a difference in people’s lives.”

Greene said Minnesota needs strong women voices at the Legislature.

“I feel pretty keenly that women’s voices are needed at the Capitol, especially as the discussion of women’s health issues heats up,” she said. “I think my voice it really important.”

Whatever happens, Dibble said it’s unfortunate that Minneapolis will lose clout in the Legislature. He believes the new legislative boundaries are fair, but they do require the remaining city representation to work harder.

“I think that’s a shame, because it represents a loss of political strength, and it means we’re just going to have to work harder, work smarter, work more collaboratively,” Dibble said.

Reach Nick Halter at nhalter@mnpubs.com.