Big change for Dist. 52, 6th District

Chisago County will also see changes in districts; Columbus, Linwood move

New redistricting maps for the congressional districts serving the metro area. (Courtesy map)

News Editor

Major changes have been ordered to the political boundaries for state and congressional districts in the Forest Lake area.

A ruling on Tuesday from the Minnesota Special Redistricting Panel appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court last June defines new boundaries that will impact where people vote and may change who represents them in the U.S. Congress and in the state House and Senate.

A major population gain in the Sixth Congressional District is a big reason for the redistricting, which comes every 10 years following the federal census of 2010 which maps population trends. Under the format used to set the eight congressional districts in the state, the ideal population total is 662,991. The Sixth is some 97,000 people above that total and the largest of the eight districts.

According to the panel ruling on Tuesday, Forest Lake, and its neighboring communities to the south and west will remain in the Sixth. The main change, however, comes to the south.

Stillwater and its neighboring communities have been shifted to the east in the new Fourth District which lacked population. That move puts current Rep. Michele Bachmann in the Fourth. She lives in West Lakeland Township which is south of Stillwater.

If she runs in the Fourth District, she would  likely face incumbent DFL Rep. Betty McCollumn. Bachmann could still run in the Sixth, but there has been no decision on that possibility nor if she would actually move to the Sixth.

St. Cloud will remain in the Sixth District, the court ruled.

In the Eighth District, Rep. Chip Cravaack, R-North Branch, will see his district remain nearly intact. The Eighth will gain a small population base in Beltrami County to bring it within population guidelines. The district was slightly underpopulated following the 2010 census.

Senate, House

Major changes are also coming for what is now state Senate Districts 52 and 17, and the two House seats included within each Senate district.

Senate District 52 becomes Senate District 39 and Senate District 17 becomes Senate District 32. While the old District 17 included all of Chisago County, the new District 39 will encroach into northeastern Chisago County and extend south through Stillwater.

No longer will the old District 52 extend west into Anoka County, meaning that Columbus City and Linwood Township will move to Senate District 31 with House District 31B serving the two communities.

The current House District 52A will also see a major change. Now called District 39A, the House district will cover the new territory in Chisago County but lose the Anoka County communities to the west that have strong Forest Lake links.

And with the changes come potential in-party battles or decisions by candidates to move to other districts.

In the new House 39A, current Rep. Bob Dettmer, R-Forest Lake, will move into Chisago County territory now represented by District 17B Rep. Bob Barrett, R-Shafer.

In Senate District 39, Sen. Ray Vandeveer, R-Forest Lake, finds himself in the same Senate district as Sen. Ted Lillie, R-Lake Elmo.

Two current sitting Republican senators would also be moved into the new Senate District 31. Mike Jungbauer and Michele Benson are both impacted by redistricting and placed in the same district.

The cities of Forest Lake, Hugo, Scandia and May Township, the four northern municipalities of the county that remain in the Sixth Congressional District, will stay in what was House District 52A, now 39A.

To the north of Forest Lake, the city of Wyoming, Chisago City and Stacy will become part of the new House District 32B which extends north through Chisago County. House 32A will include the Cambridge area and parts of Isanti County.