Minnesota 3rd District
Over the past half century, Minnesota’s great twin metropolis has spread out from the neat streets inside the city limits of Minneapolis and St. Paul into the countryside all around. People have sorted themselves out geographically. In the lower lands along the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, where rail lines fan out from the Twin Cities, are the blue-collar suburbs, with modest houses on grid streets and warehouses and factories near the tracks. Inland, around the lakes Minnesota is so proud of, in subdivisions with curved streets hugging the hills, are the Twin Cities’ more affluent neighborhoods, quiet and unflashy in the Minnesota way, but comfortable whether blanketed with snow or with a nearby lake glinting in the summer sun. At the edge of Lake Minnetonka is Wayzata, the monied suburb that is the top ZIP code in Minnesota for political donations. In between are the freeway interchanges where some of the Twin Cities’ great innovations can be seen—Southdale Shopping Center in Edina, the first enclosed mall and site of the first B. Dalton store, which begat the national book chains; huge indoor water parks; and the giant Mall of America, with its 4.2 million square feet, 520 stores, 86 eating options, 14 theaters, eight nightclubs and 11,000 year-round employees. Another nearly 6 million square feet, which include a 5,000-seat performing arts center and a rail connection to downtown Minneapolis, are in the works. The mall is the nation’s No. 1 tourist attraction, attracting 40 million people annually.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 3rd Congressional District of Minnesota takes in Hennepin County suburbs north, south and west of Minneapolis. On the north side of the district is working-class Brooklyn Park, long a Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party stronghold but more famous now for its former mayor, Jesse Ventura, the celebrity wrestler-turned-governor. On the south is middle-income Bloomington, home of the Mall of America. To the west are Edina, Plymouth, Wayzata and other towns around Lake Minnetonka, all traditionally Republican. It is the district’s largest lake, and these are the most affluent communities in the Twin Cities area. The district is home to the headquarters of such diverse companies as Cargill and Radisson Hotels, and has large biotech facilities in Brooklyn Park and Maple Grove. This area trended Democratic in the 1990s, when Bill Clinton twice won pluralities here. The 3rd may be the home of Minnesota’s traditional Republican establishment, but it voted just 51% for George W. Bush in 2004. In 2008, it flipped to the Democratic column, voting for Barack Obama 52%-46%.