According to this Associated Press story there is at least some chance that Minnesota could lose a congressional seat after the 2010 census.
The concern sounds speculative at this point. But sooner or later, population trends are likely to cost the state a seat in the U.S. House. When it happens a fierce redistricting battle will follow — and the issues raised will not be simple.
Some Minnesota community of interest, belief or place would see its representation in Washington diluted. Those communities could crudely be defined as the Iron Range (currently dominant in 1 seat); farm country (2 seats); central cities (2 seats); and suburbia/exurbia (3 seats).
One question sure to arise if and when a seat is lost is whether the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul should be combined in a single urban district instead of each anchoring a district of its own. For now, each city is large enough to dominate a district, which means two Minnesota House members are highly attuned to city concerns. But in time, one or both cities will find itself a minority interest within a district dominated by suburban voters.
Would that matter? Or would it best to keep two districts in which urban interests were important?
Would diluting farm country representation, or surburban representation, or Iron Range representation be more fair, or more prudent?
Keeping in mind that individual House members, by political necessity, are most sensitive to the views and best interests of voters in their own districts, what division of the state would result in the best representation of the broad interests of Minnesota as a whole?