By Jack Jodell, Feb. 24, 2012
In a surprising “Christmas in February” move on Tuesday, a judicial panel named by the Minnesota Supreme Court redrew Minnesota’s eight Congressional Districts in such a way that Michele Bachmann no longer resides in her once-safe 6th district, but is now a resident of liberal Betty McCollum’s 4th district! The 6th District has been redrawn to include a few more traditionally Democratic precincts. It was a rare treat and welcome news for progressives everywhere. Though no longer a resident of that district, Bachmann still plans to run for re-election in the new, more competitive 6th, which means that 6th District voters (as well as the entire nation) may soon find they won’t have the overly ideological, bitterly partisan arch-conservative Michele Bachmann to kick them around anymore! Since it is not a requirement that congressional candidates be residents of the district they represent, Bachmann’s decision is perfectly legal, albeit unusual and typically controversial. Though not a certainty, in a presidential election year when Democratic voter turnout tends to be highest, Bachmann looks like she will be facing an uphill struggle to hang onto that new 6th district seat, and will be a Carpetbagger if she succeeds. Thanks in part to her being the darling of the Tea Party set and to the infamous Citizens Unired decision, her campaign coffers are overflowing with cash, a sizeable amount of it from well outside of the District. In her typically insane and over-the-top style, Bachmann mouthed off in a recent fundraising email by accusing the courts of “cherrypicking the districts.” Funny – she seems to be the only one who thinks that way. Even Republican strategist Ben Golnik commented, “It’s fair to say it’s a pretty minimal change.”
The redistricting panel came into being only because state Republicans and Democrats could not reach agreement on new districts. Imagine that! Redistricting is done by law every 10 years to reflect population changes in the previous census. The panel made mainly small changes to the congressional districts and rejected the drastic east-west lines the state’s Republicans had submitted. Though subtle, these changes may yet prove devastating for the state’s GOP congressional caucus. For example, 2nd District Republican John Kline has picked up several Democratic precincts, and 8th District Tea Party Republican Chip Cravaack, who upset longtime veteran Democrat James Oberstar in 2010′s aberrant Republican/Tea Party mudslide, also finds himself in a struggle in that usually heavily-Democratic District in the northeastern portion of the state.
My own 3rd District congressman, Keith Ellison, will now preside over one of the safest and strongest Democratic districts in the country, and I am glad, because he has been a superb voice for the people! He has proven himself time and again to be an offsetting voice of reason against the raving and fanatical Bachmann, and has been a reliably steady voice for the working people as well as the marginalized members of our entire nation.
So, it may be a bit premature, but I would like to be among the very first to say good riddance to that crazy, extremist, attention-craving and hyperbolic Michele Bachmann! May she NEVER return to elective office!