Paired incumbents start pondering political future

48 of the 201 incumbents in the Minnesota Legislature have been paired together under the new redistricting plan. Some have quickly made decisions about their political futures. Others are taking time to ponder their options. Here’s a look at where things stand among the members who were paired:

Minnesota Senate

Senate District 5

Sen. John Carlson, R-Bemidji, says he’s running for reelection. He’s paired with Sen. Tom Saxhaug, DFL-Grand Rapids. Saxhaug told the Duluth News Tribune that he’ll run in November.

Senate District 8

Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, told MPR News earlier this week that he intends to run again. He’s paired with Sen. Gretchen Hoffman, R-Vergas. Hoffman said she’s not sure whether she’s running for reelection.

Update: Ingebrigtsen and Hoffman both say they’ll make a decision by Friday night.

Senate District 17

Sen. Joe Gimse, R-Willmar, is expected to run unopposed not face an incumbent since Sen. Gary Kubly, DFL-Granite Falls, is not expected to run for reelection.

Senate District 23

Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, says she intends to run for reelection.

“That’s my district and I worked very hard,” Rosen said. “I ran unopposed last time and I think I have good standing there. I did some good things for that district.”

Rosen has been paired with Sen. Al DeKruif, R-Madison Lake. He said he’ll speak with his family and supporters before making a decision. DeKruif, however, said he won’t move into another district. If he runs he’ll run against Rosen.

“If I get the nod from everybody that I should do this and then in my guy I feel right then I’ll go,” he said.

Senate District 31

Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, said she’s talking with supporters about her political future. She was paired with Sen. Michael Jungbauer, R-East Bethel, who said he’s running. Jungbauer told Late Debate Radio on Tuesday night that he will run in a primary.

Senate District 39

Sen. Ted Lillie, R-Lake Elmo and Sen. Ray Vandeveer, R-Forest Lake have been paired. I haven’t caught up with either of them yet. Lillie told the Woodbury Patch that he’s keeping his options open. They include moving to Woodbury or a possible run for Congress against Rep. Betty McCollum, DFL-MN.

Senate District 61

Sen. Ken Kelash, DFL-Minneapolis, sent out an e-mail saying he’s thinking about running for an open Senate seat instead of challenging Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis. Dibble is running in the district.

Senate District 66

Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, and Sen. Mary Jo McGuire, DFL-Falcon Heights, both say they want to run again but want to talk about it first. Marty said he doesn’t want a nasty endorsement battle.

“I would like to run again and she would like to run again too,” Marty said. “That’s the issue. We don’t have that choice. We cannot both run for Senate in the same district.”

McGuire said she probably won’t make a decision until next week at the earliest, and she plans to discuss the situation with Marty.

“We, on policy issues, are very similar. So, it’s hard, because I want to see John there and I want to see me there. I don’t want to see either of us leave the Senate,” she said.

Minnesota House

House District 4B

Rep. Paul Marquart, DFL-Dilworth, and Rep. Kent Eken, DFL-Twin Valley, say they won’t run against each other.

“We’re good friends and we’re going to work this out in a way that works out best for the both of us,” Eken said.

The two say they’ll decide within a week. Eken and Marquart both said it’s possible that one of them runs for a Minnesota Senate that is being vacated by Sen. Keith Langseth, DFL-Glyndon, who is retiring.

“Kent and I have some options that others don’t,” Marquart said. “That’s in our favor.”

Marquart was careful to note that he has stated publicly that he would like to stay in the House which makes it likely that Eken could run for the Senate seat. He was meeting privately with former DFL Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe before he talked with MPR News.

House District 5A

This district pairs Rep. John Persell, DFL-Bemidji, with Rep. Larry Howes, R-Walker. Both are expected to run for reelection. I didn’t catch up with Howes yet but Persell said he’s confident considering he currently represents a large portion of the new district.

“You look at the map and it looks like my district,” Persell said. “I have a comfort level with that so if you campaign hard on the issues. Nothing has changed for me.”

House District 5B

Rep. Tom Anzelc, DFL-Balsam Township, says he’s running. He’s paired against Rep. Carolyn McElfatrick, R-Deer River, told the Duluth News Tribune that she’s running again.

House District 11B

Rep. Roger Crawford, R-Mora, has been paired with Rep. Bill Hilty, DFL-Finlayson. I didn’t catch up with either of them today.

House District 17A

Rep. Lyle Koenen, DFL-Clara City, and Rep. Andrew Falk, DFL-Murdock, have been paired. I didn’t catch up with either of them today. Neither returned calls to the West Central Tribune on Tuesday. One idea floated is that one of the candidates could challenge GOP Sen. Joe Gimse.

Update: Falk didn’t commit to whether he would run for reelection. He said he needs to discuss it with Koenen but hasn’t scheduled a meeting yet. Koenen hasn’t called me back yet.

House District 18B

Rep. Ron Shimanski, R-Silver Lake, says he intends to come back to the Legislature.

“Absolutely,” Shimanski said when asked if he’s running again. “It will be up to our delegates to vote on our records.”

Shimanski was paired with Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, R-Glencoe. Gruenhagen wouldn’t say what he intends to do.

“We’re just taking a couple of days to let the dust settle on it,” Gruenhagen said. “I’m just taking it a couple of days to think it through.”

House District 23B

Rep. Paul Torkelson, R-Nelson Township, has been paired with Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder. Cornish told The Mankato Free Press that he’s running for reelection.

Torkelson said he intends to run for office but wouldn’t give more specifics.

“I’m committed to coming back here,” Torkelson said.

His options include challenging Cornish or running in an open district that includes a large portion of his current seat.

House District 35B

Rep. Branden Peterson, R-Andover, says he’ll run for an open state Senate seat instead of challenging Rep. Peggy Scott, R-Andover. Peterson said the growing population in their area made it likely that there could be another seat in that district. He said he and Scott discussed it prior to the maps coming out this week.

“We kind of already knew what our approach was going to be,” Peterson said. “That’s why you saw my announcement so quickly.”

Scott is running for reelection.

House District 38B

Rep. Carol McFarlane, R-White Bear Lake, has been paired with House Majority Leader Matt Dean, R-Dellwood. McFarlane told MPR News on Tuesday that she’s still weighing her options. Dean wasn’t available to comment on Wednesday.

House District 39A

Rep. Bob Dettmer, R-Forest Lake, and Rep. Bob Barrett, R-Shafer, have been paired together. I didn’t catch up with them yet.

House District 41A

Rep. Tom Tilberry, DFL-Fridley, says he intends to run for reelection.

“I’m forging ahead as if nothing is different,” Tilberry said. “I’m planning on going to an endorsing convention.”

Tilberry was paired with Rep. Kate Knuth, DFL-New Brighton. Knuth says she hasn’t decided what she’s going to do. She said she’s going to talk with a lot of people before she decides.

“Redistricting is a time where people reassess their personal futures,” Knuth said. “But I would like to do that in the context of my community and my state.”

House District 56A

This one wasn’t on the initial incumbent pairings because the court put in an old address for Rep. Mark Buesgens. Buesgens now lives in Savage and has been paired with Rep. Pam Myrha, R-Burnsville. I didn’t catch up with either of them yet.


The Jordan Independent is reporting that Buesgens is retiring.

House District 61A

Both Rep. Marion Greene, DFL-Minneapolis, and Rep. Frank Hornstein, DFL-Minneapolis, say they will seek their party’s endorsement.

“We both wish it weren’t this way,” Greene said. “But it is what it is and it’s about continuing our work here. It’s not about any strife between us. He and I continue to get along.”

Greene said she’s just getting going as a lawmaker and has a lot more to do. Hornstein said he’ll emphasize his experience to delegates.

“I have lived in the two areas for 23 years,” Hornstein said. “I have represented the area on the Met Council and, of course, in the Legislature for ten years.”

House District 63B

Rep. Linda Slocum, DFL-Richfield, says she intends to move from her current district into an open seat in Richfield. She said she was looking to downsize from her family home now that her children are older and moved out of the house. She said the open seat in 50A includes roughly half of her current district.

“I have been looking at houses while waiting for the map to drop,” Slocum said. “It’s mostly the same district in 50A.” Slocum joked the mayor of Richfield offered her a room in his her home if she doesn’t close on a place by May 1st.

Slocum was paired with Rep. Jean Wagenius, DFL-Minneapolis.

House District 66A

Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, is running for reelection. She has been paired with Rep. Mindy Greiling, DFL-Roseville. Greiling announced her retirement before the new maps were released.

  • Pat McGee

    What about Peggy Scott (old 49A) now in a new 49B with Branden Peterson?

  • tom scheck

    Should have been more clear. Scott is running for reelection. Added it to the post.

  • Gary Hill


    In Senate District 17 you don’t actually mean to say Gimse will be unopposed, just that he won’t be running against an incumbent.

  • As usual, Tom has done yeoman’s work pulling all this together … THANKS.

    Some info on the 23B

    The New Ulm Journal speculated yesterday that Torkelson may to move so that he can represent the new district in Brown County. “I’m going to find a way to come back, but the new maps make that challenging,” said Torkelson, “But, it’s too early to say exactly how that will work out.”

    And I believe that the Mankato Free Press had a story that if Julie Rosen did not run (which she said she will), Tony Cornish said he would run for Senate.

    Interestingly, the DFL already had one candidate lined up to compete against Representative Cornish, but she was a resident of Wells … and now the new district moves Wells out of Cornish’s old 24-B … so the DFL may be looking for a new candidate.

    With all the changes, it’s too bad that they didn’t just cut the size of the legislature … or make it a unicameral system … then there could have been some real “inside-baseball” battles.

    And one other thought … has anybody looked at how much money these campaigns have … gotta think that those that have had success raising money and those with a funds on-hand might have the advantage … so for example, Cornish had two competitors in 2010 (DFL and IP), so he was actively soliciting donations while Torkelson ran unopposed.

    And will we see the influence of outside groups using this opportuntity to “cull” out the people that have not been as receptive as others are (i.e. will MCCL pick sides in some of these contests.)

  • EricF

    One typo, an extra “L” in Linda (Llinda) Slocum. It stopped this article appearing in a search for “Linda Slocum”.

    Like Mac said, thanks for pulling this together.

  • Molly Pederson

    As a Richfield resident, I’m happy to hear that Linda Slocum has decided to run in the open seat! It was, and still is, two communities that she has been doing a great job representing. Oh, and Tom? The mayor of Richfield offered Linda a room in HER home, not HIS home!

  • Tom Scheck

    I could have sworn Slocum said “his home.” Sorry for the mistake. It’s been fixed.