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It takes state Sen. Rich Draheim more than two hours to get from the southern exurban city of Jordan to the tiny farm towns by the Iowa border.

But all are part of the district he is poised to represent at the State Capitol next year.

"It's been a lot of road time," said the Republican from Madison Lake, who is shifting from a far more compact district to one he estimates is home to two congressional districts, seven counties, 34 cities, 68 townships and about 20 school districts.

A panel of judges completed the high-stakes puzzle of redistricting in February. Nine principles guided their work reshaping legislative and congressional districts, including keeping together communities with shared interests — such as occupations or geography — and making the districts "reasonably compact."

But it's difficult to slice a state into 67 Senate districts and 134 House districts and not have a few odd puzzle pieces.

"You have all these various parts left over," said GOP political consultant Gregg Peppin, who has been watching the redistricting process for decades. He sees an eastern metro Senate district, where Democrat Judy Seeberger and Republican Tom Dippel are locked in a fierce fight, as a prime example. The crescent-shaped district stretches northwest of Stillwater to Hastings.

"You've got the north, the south and the central, and they all have very unique traits and communities of interest," Peppin said. "What does Grant have in common with Hastings? Not a lot."

Dippel said he surprises Hastings residents when he says Grant and Lake Elmo are also in their district. But he does hear shared concerns, including Mississippi and St. Croix river water quality.

The sprawling geography of some seats can be challenging for candidates vying to win over voters — or for Draheim, who has no opponent, to get acquainted with the far-flung corners of the district. Inflation and crime are unifying themes as he meets voters, he said, but noted the shifted borders will alter some of his priorities at the Capitol.

"Agriculture in my new district is A-number-one," Draheim said, and a state bonding bill will also be an elevated priority, since so many small towns rely on it for infrastructure projects.

While House districts are smaller than their Senate counterparts, that chamber also has some unusual district shapes, like one in northern Minnesota that includes the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and the White Earth Nation.

Erika Bailey-Johnson, the Democrat running there, has heard it likened to a barbell, or a bone.

She's had days where she would like to hit a parade in one community and festival in another, but the district is simply too big. Different tribes and towns will have varying priorities, Bailey-Johnson said, adding, "It's going to come down to being present in community and being a good listener."