With yesterday's redistricting, Bluestem's editor finds herself still represented in the state senate by voting suppression advocate Scott Newman, but doubly represented by ALEC member Ron Shimanski (R-Silver Lake) and Glencoe's Glenn Gruenhagen, who's now advocating the death penalty rather than castration for sex offenders.
While their politics may seem outlandish to those more middle-of-the-road, Shimanski and Gruenhagen are both genuinely friendly and open guys, and so I trust they'll settle this dilemma as the post-dueling era gentlemen that they are.
It's Paul Torkelson I worry about. The genial and rather crafty farmer from Watonwan County has been paired with retired lawman Tony Cornish.
Both intend to seek re-election. Here's hoping that Cornish is nicer to his colleague and rival than he is to his constituents, but as one local newspaper reports, Torkelson is mostly in Cornish's House seat, and the latter is a relentless advocate of the "Castle Doctrine."
KEYC-TV reports in Redistricting Decision Means Big Changes For Area Legislators:
Four area Republicans vie for just two seats in the Legislature. 21B's Paul Torkelson and 24B's Tony Cornish are now both located in District 23B.. . .
In the Senate, District 24's Julie Rosen now shares a constituency with District 25's Al DeKruif.
Those legislators were at work in St. Paul when the news broke, so the details remain up in the air.
But one of them says he'll be running again in 2012 regardless.
Rep. Tony Cornish (R - Good Thunder) says, "I like my job. I plan on staying here. I like being chairman. No matter what happens, I'm pretty sure I'm running again, no matter who it's against."
Should be interesting.
In the New Ulm Journal, Josh Moniz reports in Redistricting: Torkelson out of Brown County:
The new district pairs Torkelson with Rep. Tony Cornish (R-Vernon Center). In fact, Torkelson's portion of Watonwan County is added to what was almost exactly Cornish's prior district.
Torkelson said he will run for reelection regardless of the district he ends up living in. He said that he is not yet willing to release any detailed plans on his future prospects.
"I'm going to find a way to come back, but the new maps make that challenging," said Torkelson, "But, it's too early to say exactly how that will work out."
Moniz's article suggests one possibility for Torkelson to remove himself from Cornish's home ground:
One possibility open to Torkelson is to move so that he can represent the new district in Brown County. His portion of Watonwan County in his new district only covers three townships and less than 5 percent of the county.
While it may be a sacrifice for a farmer legislator to move into town in order to preserve his political life, it's probably a better alternative than facing down the former Lake Crystal police chief and crappie cop.
And a move to New Ulm would be the best sort of conflict avoidance, since the charming German-American Disneyworld is now in incumbentless 16B. Torkelson has until May to light out to the territories.