by Eric Hagen
Redistricting by a state courts panel earlier this week has led to some political allies in the Minnesota House and Senate ending up in the same district.
For example, Rep. Branden Petersen, R-Andover, and Rep. Peggy Scott, R-Andover, are both in the new House District 35B.
A few hours after the new district maps were released to the public, Petersen and Scott came to an agreement that they would not run against each other in a primary election.
Scott, whose second two-year term in the House concludes after this year, will run for the House District 35B seat.
Petersen is at the end of his first term. He will run for the Senate District 35 seat, which is a four-year term and is an open seat with no incumbent following redistricting.
Scott said Petersen deferred the decision to her because of her seniority in the Legislature.
Although becoming a state senator would usually be the next step in political accession, Scott loves the area she is in, she said.
“I am very connected to Andover and I know a lot of people in the Coon Rapids area I’m going to be representing,” Scott said. “It was a better fit for me.”
Petersen confirmed that he deferred to Scott because of her seniority, but also said that they and other legislators had preliminary discussions about what could happen under certain redistricting scenarios, so they were prepared for the scenario that they could be in the same House district.
Petersen said he is very familiar with the area within the new Senate District 35. Petersen grew up in Coon Rapids and now lives in Andover.
“It’s an area that I’m extremely familiar with,” Petersen said. “I have friends and family all over the area, so it’s not really a shock to me.”
Petersen is disappointed that Coon Rapids was split into four different House districts. He said Coon Rapids has been split between three House representatives for the last two redistricting cycles, so he would have preferred that Coon Rapids be in one district.
Scott will no longer be representing Ham Lake after 2012. Ham Lake will be in House District 31B, into which Rep. Tom Hackbarth, R-Cedar, has been placed.
Scott would also be losing a portion of northeast Andover and would be picking up a sliver of Ramsey west of the Rum River. She thought it would have been simpler to keep Andover whole, but she said that she did not know what the court factored in its decision.
Eric Hagen is at firstname.lastname@example.org