The evening after Minnesota's new legislative and congressional maps were posted, state Sen. Jim Abeler showed up at the council meeting of a city that accounts for just a sliver of his district.

But next year the reshuffled political borders will include far more of Coon Rapids in Abeler's domain — if the Anoka Republican can hang onto a seat that looks to be shifting more Democratic.

"Even though I don't represent a lot of you, still call on me to help out along with my peers in the House and Senate," Abeler said to a couple dozen residents in the council chambers. "We do really like to get things done for you all."

From the Twin Cities suburbs to Rochester and communities around Duluth, incumbent lawmakers are racing to get acquainted with new voters — or weighing whether to retire or move. New candidates are launching campaigns for open seats or areas that suddenly appear easier to win.

And while the dust is still settling on the state's new court-drawn redistricting maps, both sides are starting to see the battleground districts that will help decide control of the Legislature in the decade to come.

Republicans feel bullish about their chances this fall, given the headwinds for Democrats, and some analysts say the latest maps will provide GOP hopefuls with more competitive situations in a broader range of districts. But all sides agree that the court's approach in minimalizing changes to district boundaries means no side scored a clear electoral advantage for the next 10 years.

"We're all entering into this great unknown," GOP strategist Gregg Peppin said. "How are these districts going to vote? You've got past voting statistics, sure. But at the end of the day these other factors — the outside influences, the national environment, the incumbents, how they match up, recruiting — there's all these things. So it's this big stew of political issues that are out there bubbling."

The Legislature is divided, with Democrats controlling the House and Republicans holding the majority in the Senate. While the party in the White House historically has not fared well in midterm elections, Democrats hope the inroads they have made in more suburban districts will grant them a path to victory this November.

In the state Senate, 37 of the newly drawn districts out of 67 favored President Joe Biden in the 2020 election, the same split under the old boundaries. In the 134-seat House, 77 new districts favored Biden in 2020, five more than the old map.

"We saw more metro districts created, and we win in metro districts," DFL House Speaker Melissa Hortman said. She said there are a lot of opportunities for Democrats to secure suburban districts, as well seats around Rochester and Mankato. While some greater Minnesota districts are becoming more red, Hortman said, "There are still pockets of greater Minnesota where we have a strong hold ... and I expect we'll keep those."

Community organizer Matt Norris lives in one of the key suburban House seats in the north metro. The DFL candidate has been door-knocking in Blaine since last fall, expecting he'd run for the legislative seat he wound up in when the lines were redrawn. Where he landed likely will be one of the most contested races for the Legislature.

The new Blaine-area House district includes Circle Pines, pairing Norris with incumbent Republican Rep. Donald Raleigh. Norris was already shifting his door-knocking route last week and making calls to the new areas of his district. Mentally, he's preparing for the flood of outside money and attacks that will undoubtedly pour into the race.

"Oftentimes in swing districts it's outside money that overwhelms the money candidates spend," he said. "The way you counter that is by living in the community and talking about what I would do for the community."

Raleigh is doing the same thing. He said he has a lot of community ties in the newly drawn district. He's a former Blaine parks commissioner, belongs to the local VFW and said he knows "hundreds and hundreds of families" through volunteering with a Civil Air Patrol squadron based in Blaine.

A west metro match-up of two incumbents — Democratic Sen. Ann Johnson Stewart of Minnetonka and Republican Sen. David Osmek of Mound — will likely be another big-ticket suburban battle. There could also be a tough fight for the north suburban district that includes Lino Lakes and White Bear Lake, where prominent GOP Sen. Roger Chamberlain has landed in a decidedly more Democratic seat.

"Suburban areas are definitely going to be a battleground, but we're confident that our message is going to resonate with voters all across the state of Minnesota," GOP Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller of Winona said. "With crime absolutely out of control, we're confident that providing funding for more police officers, holding criminals accountable for their actions, and helping make communities safer ... is a winning message."

Miller said he thought the courts — which took over the redistricting process when legislators failed to reach an agreement — drew fair boundaries in the Senate overall, but he was disappointed the new maps paired up more Republican incumbents than Democrats. In the wake of those GOP pairings a couple of longtime Republican senators, Finance Committee Chair Julie Rosen and State Government Committee Chair Mary Kiffmeyer, have announced they are retiring.

Democrats also must contend with a disadvantage, said retired Carleton College political scientist Steve Schier. DFL voters are packed tightly into "inefficient districts" that are heavily one party, while Republicans are widely spread across the state and have more competitive situations in different districts, he said.

For Republicans, picking up some of those greater Minnesota districts will be key to controlling the Legislature, particularly in the House, Peppin said. While the suburbs are critical, he said, there are also opportunities for the GOP to do well by snagging DFL seats on the Iron Range or the one held by five-term DFL Rep. Mike Sundin that includes Cloquet.

Sundin's district will add part of Pine County in more conservative-friendly areas, giving Republicans hopes of having a better shot at flipping it this fall. But Sundin, a union organizer who lives in Esko, recently took over the gavel in the House Agriculture Committee and said he has plenty to talk about with his new constituents, who include farmers.

"I still expect robust competition for this seat, you know, and that's OK," he said. "That keeps everybody honest."

Political control of Minnesota's legislative chambers has swung back and forth over the past two decades. Each party has won control of both the Senate and House the same number of times over the past 20 years, noted Joe Mansky, the former Ramsey County elections director who has worked on state redistricting plans for decades.

"I can't think of a more politically balanced environment," Mansky said. "So, are we looking at more of the same from 2022 to 2030? I think the answer is yes. I expect this plan to create the opportunity for multiple changes of control over the next 10 years."

Data editor MaryJo Webster contributed to this report.