The dust is still settling after political redistricting maps were released on Tuesday, but one thing is clear: For suburbs below the Minnesota River, the political center of gravity has shifted to the south and west.
Prior to 2002, most of the county's population was concentrated in the north—in Burnsville and Eagan, the county's largest towns. However, over the last 10 years, the cities south and west of Burnsville have grown at an astonishing rate.
Shakopee, for instance, almost doubled in size, to just over 37,000 residents, in 2010. Savage, once Burnsville's diminuitive neighbor, grew by 27 percent. In the south, Prior Lake, Lakeville, Farmington and Rosemount all experienced double-digit growth over the decade ending in 2010.
Burnsville, on the other hand, is a mature city. Most of its land is already developed. During the same period, the city's population growth was almost flat: Over the 2000s, the city added less than 100 new residents.
The Minnesota Supreme Court's redistricting panel redrew district lines to cleave as closely as possible to an ideal that each senate district contain about the same number of potential voters—about 79,000 people.
In the southern suburbs, the panel redrew the lines to accomodate the influx of people in the south and western cities adjoining Burnsville. The new boundary lines reshuffled local legislators accordingly. Though once home to three senators, Burnsville is now split into just two senate districts, aligned east to west, with the boundary separating the city's new Senate Districts 51 and 56 following a rough path along Highway 77.
One thing that hasn't changed with redistricting: Every portion of Burnsville and its immediate neighbors are represented by Republicans.
Burnsville Sen. Dan Hall's new territory—Senate District 56—is oriented to the west, not the north. As a result, Burnsville is no longer tethered to Bloomington, which accounted for half of Hall's district under the old schema. Hall's new spread includes most Savage, the majority of Burnsville and portions of Lakeville's top quarter.
On the House side, most of Burnsville will now be represented by Rep. Mary Liz Holberg, now charged with House District 56B—an area that encompasses a small part of Holberg's hometown, Lakeville, and a rather large, L-shaped chunk of Burnsville. By contrast, Rep. Pam Myhra, now representing House District 56A, holds court over an area primarily centered on Savage and Scott County. Myrha's new turf includes only small portion of Burnsville, her city of residence, in a square bounded by the west stretch of Highway 13, Interstate-35W and County Road 42.
In turn, according to a list published by House Research, Myrha's territorial boundaries pushed Savage's Rep. Mark Buesgens further west. He will represent House District 55B, which contains only the barest sliver of Savage, much of Prior Lake, Spring Lake, Jordan and some of Shakopee.
Big changes are on the way to Burnsville's south, as well. Gone is Senate District 37, which encompassed a piece of Burnsville's southeastern corner. Burnsville has lost both Sen. Chris Gerlach and Rep. Tara Mack, whose new territory covers high-growth areas to the southeast—Apple Valley, Rosemount and Hastings.
Redistricting wrought the fewest changes in the northeast, where Sen. Ted Daley and Rep. Diane Anderson still hold court. Under the old system, Anderson's and Daley's digs contained only a small slice of Burnsville—the area where East Burnsville Parkway becomes Slater Road. When Senate District 51 was created, both kept their old stomping grounds and gained additional territory in Burnsville, extending their reach to a swath of land north of Highway 13 that stretches west to the Scott County line.