A state Minnesota House Republican redistricting plan that was approved by a committee Tuesday would pit 20 incumbent House members and six Senate members against one another in 2012 election.
Richfield’s Sen. Ken Kelash would be one of the six senators to battle it out. Under the plan, Kelash would face-off against Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Southwest Minneapolis). The current plan doesn’t appear to affect House Rep. Paul Thissen or Rep. Linda Slocum’s district boundaries.
Republicans said the redistricting process—which has been led by Rep. Sarah Anderson (R-Plymouth)—has been fair, although it inordinately pits incumbent Democrats against one another. Democrats said the process by which the plan was conceived was flawed because it didn't incorporate enough public input or reach out to impacted communities.
“Of course everybody’s map is fair,” Kelash told Patch. “[The Democrats' plan] is going to be fair until Republicans look at it … In the end it might be the courts that decide what fair looks like."
Although Democrats condemned the Republican process for the plan, they said it was just the first of many small steps in the redistricting process.
"I don’t think these lines will stand,” Kelash said. “There are a lot more decisions to be made. It doesn’t do too much good to get worked up about preliminary plans.”
As far as the potential for Kelash not serving Richfield in the future, he said, "I've been a strong advocate for Richfield and the current district on areas surrounding the airport and other things. My preference would be to be able to [continue] doing that kind of stuff. Who knows what the cards are going to lay out for us?”
Senate Republicans are expected to release their own plan later this week. A final redistricting plan will have to be approved by Gov. Mark Dayton by late February of 2012, although lawmakers said it's likely the plan will be vetoed and again decided by the courts.