ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota state lawmakers whose political careers were rattled by this week's release of new state legislative boundaries are just starting to sort through their options, but some contests between incumbents are already starting to shape up.
The redistricting maps released by a court panel on Tuesday paired up 48 state House and Senate incumbents. Those lawmakers now must decide about whether to run against a fellow incumbent — in some cases from their own party — or whether to move to a new district or retire.
Minnesota Public Radio News reported Thursday (http://bit.ly/yUsiNN ) that a few lawmakers have already decided to face off. In southwest Minneapolis, Democratic representatives Frank Hornstein and Marion Greene were thrown into the same district and said they would run against each other in a primary. Greene said the two are friends, but both want to stay in the Legislature.
"We both wish it weren't this way but it is what it is and it's about continuing our work here," Greene told MPR News. "It's not about any strife between us. He and I continue to get along."
Several new northern Minnesota districts will see Democratic and Republican incumbents facing off against each other. Rep. John Persell, DFL-Bemidji, and Rep. Larry Howes, R-Walker, ended up in the same new district and both intend to run.
"You look at the map and it looks like my district," Persell said. "I have a comfort level with that so if you campaign hard on the issues. Nothing has changed for me."
Also in the Bemidji area, Republican Sen. John Carlson and DFL Sen. Tom Saxhaug were paired. To their east, DFL Rep. Tom Anzelc of Balsam Township and GOP Rep. Carolyn McElfatrick landed in the same district. The two sets of incumbents are likely to run against each other in November.
Some members have options. A few House members paired with colleagues will run in newly created Senate districts without incumbents. That's the plan of Rep. Branden Petersen, R-Andover, who ended up in the same district as his fellow Andover Republican, Rep. Peggy Scott.
Some lawmakers are considering a move. In the Twin Cities, Rep. Linda Slocum, DFL-Richfield, was redistricted into the same territory of fellow DFL Rep. Jean Wagenius of Minneapolis. But the redistricting process resulted in a new House district in another part of Richfield, which includes about half of Slocum's old district, and she said it may turn into an opportunity to downsize her family home now that her children have moved out.
Lawmakers have until early May to establish residency in a new district in order to be eligible to run to represent it in November.
Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mpr.org
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.