Sen. Nelson and Sen. Dornink avoid toe-to-toe November election
(ABC 6 News) – Some state senators are announcing their plans to run for their seat at the Minnesota Capitol this November. However, they will not be campaigning in the exact same districts due to changing legislative districts. Senator Dene Dornink (R – Hayfield) and Senator Carla Nelson (R- Rochester) are both planning to run for re-election.
Tuesday’s update on redistricting meant they could potentially run against each other — the new maps show Nelson and Dornink sharing a district.
"I knew there was a chance," Dornink said. Dodge County, which used to partially be in Dornink’s district, is now entirely a part of the district where Nelson lives.
"I talked to senator nelson right away. Communication is always good," said Dornink when he first heard the news.
"Certainly I was surprised," Nelson added.
But Dornink quickly stepped in to avoid the situation — deciding just hours after the announcement to move to Freeborn County. By living there, he’ll get to keep representing most of the same population he has been for the past few years.
"I am very glad that Senator Dornink, a good senator, can really represent the district that was his district before," Nelson said.
Meanwhile, Nelson said she plans to run again for the district she currently lives in. Now that area is filled with more constituents from Dodge County. Nelson and Dornink are just a few of the many elected officials in awkward pairings this election season, but the judicial redistricting panel said that fair representation is its first priority.
"Election districts do not exist for the benefit of any particular legislator or political party. Rather, they exist for the people to select their representatives," the panel said in its final order.
The final order also says that while Olmsted and surrounding counties did grow overall, they did not grow as much as other densely populated parts of the state. Both senators for the time being, however, want to focus on priorities for this legislative session such as public safety and education.