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Republicans in Competitive Districts Opposed Pogemiller Redistricting Bill; Safe GOPers Supported Reform

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When DFL Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller saw his redistricting reform bill (SF 182) pass on a 39-28 roll call vote last Friday, he nearly needed one of the five votes cast by Republicans in favor of the bill.

While a nearly equal amount of DFLers voted against the bill (26 percent, 12 of 46) as GOPers who voted for it (24 percent, 5 of 21), a Smart Politics analysis of the roll call vote finds one big difference between those who splintered from the majority of their respective party's caucuses.

Republicans who enjoyed the largest margin of victories in 2006 voted for redistricting reform, while those with the smallest margin of victories voted against it. DFLers, however, were split - those voting in favor and against the legislation were equally those coming from safe and competitive districts.

Among the Republicans, the margin of victory for the five Senators voting for redistricting reform averaged 39.3 points - including 5 of the 6 largest margin of victories among the 21 GOPers in the Senate. The margin of victory for the 16 Republican Senators voting against the legislation was just 11.6 points - including all 8 Senators who won election in 2006 by less than 10 points.

Vote for Redistricting Reform for Republican Senators by 2006 Margin of Victory

District
Senator
MoV
Vote
35
Claire Robling
96.8
Yes
41
Geoff Michel
26.7
Yes
21
Dennis Frederickson
25.7
Yes
24
Julie Rosen
24.5
Yes
18
Steve Dille
23.9
No
33
Gen Olson
22.8
Yes
19
Amy Koch
22.8
No
29
David Senjem
22.0
No
34
Julienne Ortman
19.8
No
32
Warren Limmer
16.2
No
14
Michelle Fischbach
16.1
No
36
Pat Pariseau
14.3
No
12
Paul Koering
12.1
No
26
Dick Day
9.1
No
37
Chris Gerlach
8.7
No
52
Ray Vandeveer
4.9
No
49
Debbie Johnson
4.5
No
42
David Hann
3.6
No
11
Bill Ingebrigtsen
2.7
No
48
Michael Jungbauer
2.7
No
13
Joe Gimse
1.7
No

Pogemiller's legislation empowers the majority and minority leaders in the Senate and House with each selecting a retired appellate or district court judge to form a redistricting commission, with those four judges selecting a fifth judge. All of the judges must never have previously served in a political party designated or party endorsed position.

What would motivate five members, but only these five members, of the GOP to join forces with the DFL Majority Leader on this redistricting reform bill?

While it is likely these Senators support the legislation on the merits, no doubt the large margin of victory they enjoy in their currently-drawn districts is a welcome safety net. In short, those Republican Senators voting for reform might believe their seats are safe enough that, no matter how their districts would be carved up after the new census, they would still win reelection should they prevail in 2010 and run for reelection in 2012.

Among the DFLers, however, there was no such clear line to distinguish 'yea' votes from 'nay' votes. The margin of victory among the 12 DFLers who voted against Pogemiller's bill was 29.8 points; the margin of victory of those 34 DFLers voting for it was 29.9 points. Moreover, of the 12 DFL Senators who won their district by less than 10 points, 8 voted for the bill (Lisa Fobbe, Leo Foley, Terri Bonoff, Mary Olson, Kathy Salzman, Sandy Rummel, Jim Carlson, and Don Betzold) and just 4 voted against it (Rick Olseen, John Doll, Ann Lynch, and Steve Murphy).

Vote for Redistricting Reform for DFL Senators by 2006 Margin of Victory

District
Senator
MoV
Vote
01
LeRoy Stumpf
93.9
Yes
61
Linda Berglin
74.7
No
60
Scott Dibble
65.4
Yes
62
Patricia Torres Ray
62.8
Yes
65
Sandra Pappas
59.0
Yes
59
Larry Pogemiller
58.6
Yes
58
Linda Higgins
58.2
Yes
66
Ellen Anderson
56.1
Yes
05
David Tomassoni
55.7
No
64
Richard Cohen
53.2
No
07
Yvonne Prettner Solon
50.1
Yes
06
Thomas Bakk
42.9
No
09
Keith Langseth
39.7
Yes
67
Mee Moua
38.3
Yes
44
Ron Latz
36.5
Yes
27
Dan Sparks
35.5
No
20
Gary Kubly
34.9
Yes
63*
Kenneth Kelash
34.9
No
46
Linda Scheid
34.4
Yes
55
Charles Wiger
34.0
Yes
03
Tom Saxhaug
30.3
Yes
57
Katie Sieben
30.0
Yes
45
Ann Rest
28.7
Yes
39
James Metzen
28.1
Yes
50
Satveer Chaudhary
26.6
Yes
54
John Marty
24.2
Yes
02
Rod Skoe
21.7
Yes
22
Jim Vickerman
16.1
Yes
08
Tony Lourey
15.2
No
23
Kathy Sheran
15.0
Yes
25*
Kevin Dahle
12.8
Yes
15
Tarryl Clark
12.7
Yes
31
Sharon Erickson Ropes
11.3
Yes
10
Dan Skogen
10.5
No
51
Don Betzold
9.0
Yes
28
Steve Murphy
9.0
No
38
Jim Carlson
7.3
Yes
53
Sandy Rummel
6.3
Yes
56
Kathy Saltzman
5.9
Yes
30
Ann Lynch
5.1
No
40
John Doll
4.3
No
04
Mary Olson
4.2
Yes
43
Terri Bonoff
3.7
Yes
47
Leo Foley
1.4
Yes
17
Rick Olseen
1.2
No
16*
Lisa Fobbe
0.2
Yes
* Data reflects 2008 special elections.

There was another significant difference among the Republican 'yea' and 'nay' voters. Those GOPers who voted for redistricting reform have been elected to an average of 5 terms to the Senate, while those voting against the bill have been elected to an average of just 3 terms.

Among DFLers the difference was less stark, although tilted in the same direction: those voting for the bill averaged a greater length of service in the Senate (3.3 terms) than those who voted against it (2.8 terms).

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