The question “will Minnesota keep its eight representatives” is still very, very much up in the air. The when the population count comes out today, it is – by all accounts – touch and go whether we’ll keep all eight seats and ten electoral votes:
Depending on which of several estimates is right, the state either will lose one U.S. House seat or barely hang on to the eight it has had since 1960, when historic population shifts to the South and West reduced the number from nine.
“It’s really, really close,” said state demographer Tom Gillaspy, who projects that Minnesota could fall about 1,000 residents short of keeping its eight House seats. “It looks like we’re just below the line right now.”
It’s by no means a done deal:
Other estimates show Minnesota keeping all eight seats in Congress, with about 15,000 people to spare. But the experts warn that they are just that: estimates. “When they do the count, things could change,” said Clark Bensen of Polidata, a national data analysis firm that puts Minnesota right on the cusp of losing a seat.
And if we don’t lose it this year, we’ll lose it in 2020, unless they discover gold in Gull Lake or, better yet, oil in Owatonna.
And that matters, because…:
That kind of shrinkage could set state legislators off on a scramble next year to carve seven congressional districts out of eight, a highly partisan process that has wound up in court the last four decades.
Each of America’s 435 congressional districts will have a population of just over 700,000 people.
With that in mind, it is time for Minnesota to confront reality; if we lose a seat, it is high time we consolidated Minneapolis and Saint Paul into a single district, and get rid of either Betty McCollum or Keith Ellison’s seat. The Twin Cities – with maybe Richfield or the Brooklyns thrown in – have just about the right population to stand alone as a congressional district. It is high time we calved off the west-suburban parts of the Fifth into the Third; way overdue that we give Shoreview and Woodbury to the Sixth and Second, respectively.
There is no reason for each city, in effect, to hold an entire district hostage with its own whims and needs if we lose a district. Minneapolis and Saint Paul together account for around an eighth of Minnesota’s citizens; it is completely wrong that they dominate a quarter of our House representation.
Furthermore, getting rid of the Second, Third or Sixth would leave the DFL in control of four out of seven House seats – which is clearly unrepresentative of Minnesota’s current voting patterns, with strong GOP majorities in the Legislature and a DFL governor whose “mandate” was so weak he is effectively dead on arrival – quite likely the weakest governor in recent Minnesota history as of inauguration day.
- If we lose a seat, which district should we tube, and why?
- Who deserves to be tossed more; Ellison, or McCollum?
- Do we need to start soliciting more illegal immigrants for the 2020 census?