The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

February 22, 2012

Mankato regional legislators will face each other

MANKATO — Two area Republican law­makers will see their careers end before the Nov. 6 general election ballots are printed under new political boundaries released by a state judicial panel Tuesday.

Unless they pack up and move their residences, freshman Sen. Al DeKruif, R-Elysian, would be matched in an Aug. 14 primary election against 10-year-veteran Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont.

And five-term Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder, would be paired against two-term Rep. Paul Torkelson, R-St. James, on the same day.

Cornish said he will definitely be running this year, and DeKruif is strongly considering seeking a second term. Rosen and Torkelson didn’t return calls seek­ing comment.

“I’m not ready to retire, so I’ll find a way to run,” Cornish said.

“And if I had to run against one of my own, I probably would.”

DeKruif said he hasn’t spoken to Rosen about her plans but isn’t ruling out a primary election contest.

“I’m not sure if she’s going to run or not,” DeKruif said. “I believe in my abilities, I believe in my voting record, and I believe (Republicans) down there would believe I’ve been a pretty good senator.”

It could get even more complex, though, with both House and Senate seats up for election this year.

Cornish said he would consider running for the Senate against DeKruif if Rosen chose to retire, which would leave Torkelson unchallenged in a primary election.
Other south-central Minnesota lawmakers continue to have a district of their own in the new maps, drawn by a special redistricting panel of judges assigned to the task by the Minnesota Supreme Court when Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and the Republicancontrolled Legislature couldn’t agree on where to draw the lines. Redistricting is required after every U.S.

Census to ensure that the state’s 67 Senate districts and 134 House districts each have essentially equal population.

Rural counties south and west of Mankato have seen stagnant or declining populations, which caused their legislative districts to expand in size to encompass the 39,600 residents needed for a House district — twice that number for a Senate district.

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