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Rep. Peterson content with redistricting map, still studying impact

U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson

WILLMAR -- U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson said Wednesday that he thinks the new Seventh District is just fine.

The new district was revealed Tuesday afternoon when a state redistricting panel released the new maps for congressional and legislative districts.

The new boundaries will be used in the 2012 elections.

The new district ad-ded a few counties, but still covers most of the western third of Minnesota.

It stretches from the Canadian border to southwestern Minnesota, where just one row of counties still stands between the Seventh District and the Iowa border.

Peterson said he had not been too worried about the outcome of redistricting. He has been a Democrat running and winning in a majority Republican district for two decades.

The new counties, mostly at the south edge of the district, are familiar, he said.

"I know a lot of those people already," he added.

One of many proposed redistricting maps would have placed his home in a district that stretched from North Dakota to Lake Superior across the northern section of the state.

Peterson said he would have had to put a lot of time into getting to know people in a district like that, but it would have put him in a heavily Democratic district for the first time.

In the end the judicial panel that determined the new boundaries tried to change the state's eight congressional districts as little as possible, while equalizing population between them.

Peterson said he and his staff will spend some time in the coming weeks looking at the new district and where it gained population and geographical area.

The district lost a portion of Beltrami County and gained Pipestone and Murray counties as well as portions of Stearns and Cottonwood counties.