In today's post at Minnesota Brown, The map is dead; long live the map the dean of Minnesota's progressive bloggers writes:
The last two redistricting efforts, in 1992 and 2002 have reflected this demographic change. This year, 2012, will bring the largest changes to date.
The biggest effects will be seen in the legislative map. Here on the Iron Range, the last two redistricting efforts have endeavored to protect incumbents to the degree possible. However, the continued loss of population on the Range has pushed this approach to a breaking point. Lake Superior to the east, Canada to the north, and the even more population-starved plains counties to the west mean there is nowhere else for district lines to go but south. [emphasis added]
. . .Congressional redistricting could also be dramatic. For all the drama over potential DFL challengers and the prospects of incumbent freshman Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN8), this simple little map could turn the race upside down.
Already, the race for Congress in Minnesota’s 8th District will be unlike any seen before. Between the vast amount of outside spending, the shifting population and political dynamic of the region and the grind of a nation going through large changes, we can’t predict what will happen. Tuesday will be a big day in the story.
Ah, poor Chip Cravaack. Where will he end up? Bluestem suspects the retired pilot and his career will be heading south along with redistricting. Or east, as it were, and he's very, very sad about the potential loss of friends on Minnesota's Iron Range.
Back on Groundhog's Day, the Grand Rapids Herald Review's online edition reported in Cravaack rebuffs one GOP plan for redistricting:
- A new Republican redistricting proposal that would carve the Iron Range out of the 8th Congressional District is vehemently opposed by the congressman representing that district.
"Some say it's advantageous for me to be drawn out of the Range. I disagree. I'm completely committed to fighting for Range workers and their families," U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack said regarding the proposal that triggered several calls to his Washington office, many of them from Range residents.
The Iron Range has a tradition of a strong DFL majority representation for the past several decades. But Cravaack bucked that history with a stunning defeat of 18-term Democratic Rep. Jim Oberstar in 2010. Even though Oberstar won most precincts on the Range, Cravaack sliced deeply into the DFL stronghold.
"There was a lot of chatter toward the end of last week and then this week. It's not a formal plan, but it's out there and the congressman wants people to know he's not supportive of it," said Ben Golnik, an advisor for Cravaack's re-election campaign.
Chip Cravaack does so love the Range and North East Minnesota. Ben Golnik says so.
People in North East Minnesota want a piece of Cravaack's heart as well. On Wednesday, the Northland News Center reported that others were wondering that in Labor Council Calling on Cravaack to Hold Another Town Hall Meeting:
The North East Area Labor Council is calling on Representative Chip Cravaack to hold more town hall meetings during the President's Day congressional recess.
As good as gold, two days later, Cravaack's crack communications team kindly emailed Bluestem this helpful notice all the way from the Beltway that the first term congressman is indeed holding a town hall on Tuesday evening:
Cravaack Announces Royalton Town Hall
Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday, February 21, U.S. Representative Chip Cravaack (MN-8) will host a town hall meeting in Royalton, Minnesota. All town hall meetings are open to the public.
“These town hall meetings are a great opportunity for me to hear directly from my constituents in the Eighth District about the issues that matter to them,” said Rep. Cravaack. “I look forward to hearing what everyone has to say, as well as sharing with them what I have been working on as their representative to Washington.”
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Royalton Town Hall Meeting
Royalton American Legion
103 North Maple Street
7:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Nestled beside the placid lanes of Highway 10, and home to the famous pirate's den and souvenir shop of Treasure City, the quaint hamlet of Royalton straddles Morrison and Benton Counties, placing it in both CD 6 and CD 8.
While Cravaack might push farther south in his district or farther west, it's difficult to see him having a Town Hall meeting any more southwest without incurring the wrath of Congresswoman Bachmann. Or much more distant from Duluth.
It's possible that the location could be an accidential stroke of planning genius after the judges release the map of the new congressional district. Under Republican plans, Royalton might gain a far more central place in Chip Cravaack's geography of power.
As Minnpost columnist Doug Grow noted in GOP's congressional redistricting plan reshapes northern districts back in May, Republican geography guru Sarah Anderson had redrawn the map to put Cravaack in the new Seventh, while those lonely fellows at the North East Area Labor Council would have to schedule a play date with Blue Dog Collin Peterson (now the incumbent in the present Seventh).
Royalton would be more centrally located in Cravaack's new turf and his new constituents could get to know him better Tuesday night, should the judges stick close to Anderson's inspired work.
Not that Chip Cravaack likes Anderson's plan or any other that takes him away from all of his dear friends on the Range. Of course not.
And at least he'll be in the district where he lives--be it numbered Seven or Eight-- on Tuesday, rather than with his family in their second home in New Hampshire.
Will that be enough to satisfy everyone? Sadly no. The Brainerd Dispatch reports in Occupy Brainerd event to target Cravaack that dirty hippies are upset about the time he spends in New Hampshire with his family:
The theme of the event, according to organizer Terry Sluss of Baxter, is “Congressman Cravaack: New Hampshire is still not in the 8th District.”
Sluss said the boundaries for redistricting will be released for Minnesota late Tuesday.
Michael Bars, a spokesman for Cravaack, said Cravaack’s home is in North Branch. When his wife was promoted and transferred she tried to commute, but it was too difficult a strain on the family since Cravaack was commuting to and from Washington, Bars said.
The family has a second home in New Hampshire.
Earlier this year, MPR noted the relocation in Cravaack plans to spend more time with his family...in New Hampshire. While New Hampshire is unlikely to be in the Eighth or Seventh after Tuesday, both the Occupiers and Bar will likely continue the thumb-wrestling over quarrelsome definitions of residency.
The Seventh and the Eighth maybe inverted, Royalton may take a central place in the state's landscape, and the triumph of Representative Sarah Anderson's mad skillz with her own private GPS may finally be complete.
Images (top to bottom) Screenshot of Royalton press notice; Noted MNGOP cartographer Sarah Anderson; Royalton on county and state maps; Treasure City; Representative Anderson's awesome congressional redistricting map.