Rochester, Minnesota

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General Description

Rochester is a growing mid-sized city. The Mayo Clinic and a large IBM plant provide the majority of employment for Rochester residents. Rochester is located approximately in the center of Olmsted County, about 75 miles southeast of St. Paul, 75 miles west of the Wisconsin border, and 45 miles north of Iowa.


Rochester has a population nearing 100,000. Average income is around $50,000. The population is mostly caucasian. Southeast Asians (especially Cambodians) and Somalis make up the largest immigrant communities in town.

Political Climate

Rochester, once a Republican stronghold, has become a volatile political landscape in recent years and is now considered a battleground city, having received multiple visits from both George W. Bush and John Kerry in 2004.

State Representatives

After four decades of solid Republican representation in the Minnesota House of Representatives, the citizens of Rochester elected two Democrats in 2004: Tina Liebling in district 30A and Andy Welti in district 30B. District 29A is represented by Randy Demmer and district 29B by Fran Bradley - both Republicans. Randy Demmer runs weakest in his home town, Hayfield and has a credible challenger Dave Pugh, a Lutheran Minister, and math teacher. Representative Bradley won his reelection by a very narrow margin in 2004 against DFL challenger Kim Norton.

State Senators

Minnesota is represented by Republican David Senjem (district 29) and Independent Sheila Kiscaden (district 30) in the Minnesota Senate. It's interesting to note that Kiscaden was kicked out of the Republican party for voting against her party's interests when they conflicted with those of Rochester.

US Representative

Rochester resides in the 1st Congressional District and is represented in the US House of Representatives by Gil Gutknecht, a six-term Republican, being challenged by Tim Walz.

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