The inclusion of a larger portion of Burnsville into Eagan's new senate district has added a new dimension to the 2012 election cycle, according to Eagan's Sen. Ted Daley (R) and his two Democratic challengers, Jim Carlson and Mike Maguire.
All three candidates say they are gearing up to campaign in Burnsville's northern precincts, which were . District 51 replaces the former Senate District 38, which covered much of Eagan and a small portion of northeast Burnsville. Redistricting extended the district's western border all the way across Burnsville to the edge of Scott County. See the new district maps here.
Campaigning in Burnsville will be especially important for Carlson and Maguire, who are vying for the Senate District 51 DFL endorsement, which will be determined on March 24. Both plan to spend time reaching out to Democratic delegates in Burnsville over the next several weeks.
"The biggest difference with the new precinct is that we haven’t had the chance to meet the new delegates," said Maguire, who plans to send out mailings, make phones and meet face-to-face with the delegates, who are responsible for determining who receives the Democratic endorsement next month.
Carlson said part of his focus will be registering new voters in Burnsville's precincts. Democratic candidates were hurt in the 2010 election cycle by voter and registration apathy, Carlson believes.
"We have a very aggressive plan and some people that felt they were kind of ignored in 2010," Carlson said. "I'm facing that directly."
All three political candidates say they are pleased with Eagan's redistricting.
"It’s very much similar to the current district, it just expands to the west," said Daley. “I'll enjoy reaching out ot some of the new folks in the western part of the district … to reach out to them and find out what their concerns are."
Although the area is large geographically, Daley added, its voting population is limited because much of the land is commercial, industrial or undeveloped.
Ideally, Carlson said, he would have brought Eagan's first precinct back into Senate District 51. That precinct, in the northeastern corner of Eagan, has long been a part of a separate senate district—a fact that remains unchanged under the new district boundaries. Still, Carlson said he was satisfied that redistricting kept much of Eagan intact.
“I am very happy with our district, very happy,” Carlson said.