It seems more and more likely that Minnesota's Congressional Map will be drawn for the second decade in a row by the legal system. (As seems likely for Colorado, the way Republicans there in the State House will accept nothing more than a Republican gerrymander). So, I tried to envision a redistricting done by a State Court with intentions, basically, of maintaining the status quo, keeping communities of interest intact, and achieving political fairness.
Well the result was pretty boring actually. A wide overview of the whole state looked like this:
It isn't that much different; MN-07 and MN-01 remain literally the same, give or take a few precincts. MN-08 drops the parts of Chisago and Isanti counties that it previously held, (counties pretty much Responsible for giving us Chip Craavack), both areas that have become increasingly wealthy and increasingly mere outposts of Minneapolis exurbia, and instead takes in the St. Cloud metropolitan area at the southwest edge. On the whole this area has a lot more in common with the rest of the district than exurban Isanti and Chisago, and it leans Democratic, weighing the needle down a bit further for Democrats. Obama won it 54-43, and the average Democratic performance was 57-43. This move definitely favors Democrats by keeping the district solidly in their corner, (moreso than the numbers suggest. While it looks narrow, that margin is pretty ironclad, it's rare for a Democrat not to win this district).
MN-01 remains swingish, but Democratic leaning. Obama won it 52-46, and all and it might be a smidgen more Democratic, not that it matters. Tim Walz can hold this district as long as he wants and it seems to like moderate DFLers moreso than it likes Republicans.
MN-07 remains very farmer oriented and socially conservative, with a healthy dose of fiscal conservatism as well. Obama lost it 48-50, the average Democratic performance is 49-51. In essence it's a swing district that leans Republican. Colin Peterson though is both insanely conservative for a Democrat, and very vocally an ass when it comes to trashing and blocking progressive ideas. Jim Matheson and Mike Ross were more useful Democrats than this guy for Pete's sake. He could win a much more conservative district than this, and even in 2010 he wasn't seriously challenged. The guy is safe for however much longer he wants to hold the district, (my guess is 2022 when he gets tossed into the Iron Range when Minnesota loses a district). If he were to retire before then, it'd be anybody's guess who'd win.
Here's a close up of the Minneapolis area:
Here's where fairness to Republicans kicks in. First off, Erik Paulsen is aided by the addition of conservative Carver County to his district, while it retains all of outer Hennepin and the urban northern portion of Scott. Obama won it 51-47, the average Democratic performance though is 48-52, and Democrats have a weak base here. It should be enough to stave off another decade of the Democratic trend in Hennepin County's outer suburbs. A swing district, but on that definitely ordinarily favors Paulsen.
MN-02, yeah, it doesn't look very neat cause it swerves off west rather than into the northern areas of Walz's district. I also managed to turn it from a district that voted for Obama, to one that voted for McCain 49.3 to 48.8, again with a 48-52 average Democratic performance. So John Kline is slightly shored up, though his map remains swingish.
And that's pretty much all there is to see. Obama got 71.5% in MN-04, and 64.2% in MN-05. So this map works out to 3 Democratic leaning districts, 1 Republican leaning district, and 4 swing districts. Of those swing districts, 3 could be said to lean Republican, and one, MN-01, is, if scrutinized, an utter toss up politically. So as a map, it creates a very competitive environment in over half the state, (because MN-08 has competitive potential as well), and attempts to create a map that's fair in representing the political balance of the state. I think this does this. The Iron Range has a seat, the west farmlands have a seat, southeast Minnesota has a seat, and the northern and southern suburbs of Minneapolis-St. Paul each have their own seats, as do the twin cities. With a court, I mostly expect traditions to be followed.
P.S. This is my eternal tag for diaries, but I am fond of knowing my readership. It's not a like a blog with a built in counter on the sidebar, (at least not one that I'm aware of), so if you read this, please take a moment to vote in the poll so I can get a feel for what kind of outreach I'm getting.