Party Leaders Say They’re Pleased Woodbury Remains In One Senate District
Local GOP, DFL chairs give their impressions following redistricting.
They don’t always agree on everything, but local party officials say they’re glad the new legislative boundaries have kept Woodbury in one Senate district.
Those were some of Tuesday's first impressions from Alberder Gillespie, chair of the Senate District 56 DFL, and Joe Salmon, chair of the Senate District 56 GOP, in the hours after a state judicial panel announced new congressional and legislative boundaries for Minnesota.
Gillespie called the new boundaries “fair” and added that it makes sense for Woodbury not to be split among multiple districts.
“We’re so large, we need to be one Senate district,” she said.
As for this fall’s election, Gillespie said it’s a matter for potential candidates to decide where they plan to run, though she did note that a couple of hopefuls are in new districts following the redrawn boundaries.
But one big name in local DFL politics could make a play for the upper chamber.
State Rep. Nora Slawik (DFL-Maplewood), who lives in what is now House District 53A, said she is considering a run for the open Senate District 53 seat in the fall. (Sen. Ted Lillie, who currently represents Woodbury in the old District 56, lives in Lake Elmo, which is now part of District 39.)
“There are people talking to me about that,” Slawik said. “I’m going to talk to my constituents and talk to my family and take a look at the district.”
If she decides against a Senate run, Slawik said she plans to seek the House seat.
Over on the Republican side, Salmon said his party has some decisions ahead for the 2012 election—Rep. Andrea Kieffer, who lives in Woodbury, is the lone incumbent for legislative races in the new district.
“We were quite surprised how it shook out,” Salmon said, adding that he thought the new district would spread south into Cottage Grove. “We thought that (Rep. John) Kriesel would be in our district.”
Still, Salmon said he doesn’t expect the boundary changes finalized Tuesday to sway the balance of power in local politics, and Gillespie—who noted that the previous two local elections included sweeps for both parties—echoed that sentiment.
“This is an independent-thinking district," she said.
There is one change ahead for the local GOP, Salmon said. What was District 56 is now District 53, and the group's website will need an update.
“We’ll change the six to a three and we’re finished,” he said.
Gillespie said she she was “shocked” by U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s decision not to run in the newly redrawn 4th Congressional District, which includes Woodbury and stretches into the territory of Congresswoman Betty McCollum.
McCollum commented on Bachmann's decision on Tuesday.