Minnesota 6th District
The earliest settlers of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul came up the Mississippi River or up the rail lines that were soon built on the bottomlands beside it. They lived within walking distance of the mills and factories and rail yards. As the first streetcars and then automobiles allowed them to live farther from work, they spread out in St. Paul and Minneapolis and then all around the lake-strewn countryside. The flatlands are bleak here when the winter sun struggles to shine through gray clouds. The lakes are often surrounded by, and sometimes indistinguishable from, swamps. Stillwater, an old lumber-mill town built by pioneers on the hills above the St. Croix River, once nearly became Minnesota’s capital, but later turned into an economic backwater, its Victorian structures ill tended. Even so, the creativity and productivity of Minnesotans have turned this superficially grim countryside into some of the nation’s most pleasant suburbs. Taking maximum advantage of their lakes, they refurbished old towns and farmhouses and built comfortable homes in new subdivisions.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 6th Congressional District of Minnesota is a suburban and exurban district north of St. Paul and Minneapolis. It dips as far south and east as Stillwater, with new riverfront housing developments along the St. Croix. It spreads north over Washington and Anoka counties, just north of the Twin Cities, with a mix of upscale and working-class suburbs. To the northwest, along the Mississippi River, are Wright, Sherburne and Benton counties, which have grown rapidly from a combined total of 141,000 people in 1990 to 247,000 in 2008. Young voters, usually from ancestrally Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party families, have become the key swing voters. Farther to the northwest, the district also includes the eastern half of St. Cloud-based Stearns County, a heavily German-Catholic area and a stronghold of anti-abortion rights sentiment. The 1990s saw an influx of Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese into St. Cloud. And since 2000, several thousand Somalis have moved in and started up their own businesses. In 1998, the district, especially the fast-growing counties, was Jesse Ventura country; newcomers tended to vote Republican. George W. Bush carried the district 52%-42% in 2000 and 57%-42% in 2004, the latter his best showing in any Minnesota district. Likewise, Republican presidential candidate John McCain won here 53%-45% in 2008, his best in the state.