Redistricting opens up three legislative seats in Elk River area

by Joni Astrup

Associate editor

A new legislative redistricting plan released Tuesday results in three open seats in the Elk River area.

Two Republicans have already announced their plans to run.

Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, will run for an open Senate seat in the new District 30, which includes Big Lake, Elk River, Otsego, Albertville St. Michael and Hanover. (Click here to see a map of Senate District 30).

Elk River City Council Member Nick Zerwas will run for the House of Representatives seat, 30A, that will be vacated by Kiffmeyer. That district includes Elk River, Big Lake and a sliver of Otsego. (Click here to see a map of House District 30A).

On the DFL side, Sherburne County DFL Chair Nancy Schumacher of Elk River is aware of some potential candidates but people are still looking over the new districts and letting things settle.

Redistricting is done every 10 years once new census figures are available. The new districts were drawn by a state judicial panel.

Meanwhile, the two other open seats are:

•House District 30B, which includes most of Otsego, and Albertville, St. Michael and Hanover. (Click here to see a map of House District 30B.)

•House District 15B, which includes Foley, Clear Lake and Becker as well as Orrock Township and part of Big Lake Township. (Click here to see a map of House District 15B.)

In a related redistricting development, Sen. Mike Jungbauer, R-East Bethel, now finds himself in the same district as a colleague — Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake.

Benson is in her first term; Jungbauer is in his third.

Jungbauer’s old Senate district included most of Elk River. His new one, District 31, does not include any of Elk River but does include Zimmerman and Livonia Township. (Click here to see a map of Senate District 31.)

Jungbauer and Benson are two of 46 legislators who are now in the same district as another incumbent as a result of redistricting.

Across the state, a total of 23 districts are wide open with no incumbent residing in them. That includes eight open Senate seats and 15 open House seats.

About redistricting

•Redistricting ensures that legislative districts have the proper number of residents.

•There are 134 House districts and 67 Senate districts.

•The ideal population of a House district is 39,582, while the ideal population of a Senate district is 79,163.

•Two House districts make up each Senate district. In the case of the Elk River-Otsego area, for instance, House districts 30A and 30B make up Senate District 30.

Source: Minnesota House of Representatives House Research