Iowa Redistricting: New Maps Are Out

Iowa’s independent redistricting commission released its first drafts of the state’s Congressional & legislative maps. (Click the link for all kinds of goodness, including a Google Maps overlay.) The new proposed federal plan – which sees the state dropping from five districts to four – is below (click image for larger size):

I’m cribbing from DCCyclone here:

This map throws together Loebsack and Braley, and also Latham and King, while leaving Boswell alone in his Polk-based district. Loebsack could just move down a few miles from Linn County to Johnson (Iowa City). Latham and King won’t be happy, and I bet this map gets rejected for that reason… no way can I imagine the Iowa GOP going along with giving Boswell a free pass while making Latham and King fight it out.

Note that the legislature can reject this map and send the commission back to the drawing board.

UPDATE: Iowa is one of the only states in the nation which keeps all counties whole in redistricting, so that makes presidential results easy to calculate. Here are the new figures by CD (full spreadsheet here):

District Obama McCain Other Kerry Bush Other
IA-01 58.0% 40.1% 1.9% 53.1% 46.1% 0.8%
IA-02 56.6% 41.2% 2.1% 52.5% 46.5% 1.0%
IA-03 51.9% 45.8% 2.3% 47.1% 52.1% 0.8%
IA-04 48.1% 49.8% 2.1% 44.2% 55.0% 0.9%

UPDATE 2: I’ve added dots on the map to denote current incumbents’ homes, taken from here. To match up dots to congressmen (current CD in parens):

Black Hawk: Braley (1)

Linn: Loebsack (2)

Polk: Boswell (3)

Story: Latham (4)

Sac: King (5)

106 thoughts on “Iowa Redistricting: New Maps Are Out”

  1. Rep. Leonard Boswell’s 3rd district would shift from Des Moines and areas east to Des Moines and areas west to the Nebraska border. The Democrat’s election could get more difficult because it would include GOP-leaning counties in the southwest corner of the state that currently belong to King.

  2. Latham may choose to avoid challenging King in a Republican primary where first past the right wing crazy post wins. He could move to the 3rd and challenge Boswell in a very competitive district. The maps might get reject because the state legislative maps throw a lot of incumbents together.

  3. The House doesn’t want to see Latham vs. King and the Senate doesn’t want to see Braley vs. Loebsack (though Loebsack could quite easily move down to Johnson County and have himself a relatively strong Dem seat).

    I’m thinking the legislature will reject any proposal that doesn’t create a central district for Latham and Boswell (though one of their homes can be just outside it, but it has to clearly be an Ames/Des Moines seat). Precedent is the commission will get it right on the second or third try (the legislature rejected two maps in 1981, accepted the first one in 1991, and rejected one in 2001).

  4.  Looking at the new maps in Iowa, it looks like it would still have 3 Democratic Reps. And Only One Republican.

    The thing that makes it GREAT!!. Is that Rep. Steve King would need to face-off in a primary with the other Republican Congressman!!. And it would be even better to see this racist out of officej!!.  

    18, Democrat (PA-19)

  5. It’s pretty, even in size, lines make sense.

    And it causes 2 needless primaries and weakens the 5th incumbent with a less friendly district.


  6. I could actually see this as a 4-0 Democratic map given the right circumstances.  Braley and Loebsack could lock down the first two districts, Boswell wouldn’t be any more vulnerable in IA-03 than he is right now, and if Christie Vilsack could be induced to run in IA-04, she’d probably face King in a district swingy enough that she could win it in a Presidential year.

    Of course, I don’t expect this to be the final map, for precisely this reason.  Republicans would have to be insane to okay this map.

  7. Old:

    1st: 58 O – 41 M

    2nd: 60 O – 39 M

    3rd: 54 O – 45 M

    4th: 53 O – 46 M

    5th: 44 O – 55 M

  8. I never came up with many scenarios where King and Latham weren’t smashed together. Rs can complain, but I don’t see two strong R districts surviving in Iowa.

  9. Nobody in the Congressional delegation should like it that much, particularly not Steve King (who can’t win any of the districts on this map IMO, and could probably defeat Latham in a primary since it won’t be at the same time as the caucuses).  Tom Latham basically gets his 1990s district back, and Boswell gets the 1990s Neal Smith/Greg Ganske map.  Loebsack would jump to the 2nd, so that’s basically a wash.

    But as other commenters have noted, this is going to pass or fail based on the state house and senate map.  There are enough interesting competitive districts here, Republicans should be happy to have a map that isn’t likely to be 3-1 against them, and Democrats should be happy to have a map that can defeat Steve King.

    From my own experimentation, this is basically the only setup that doesn’t pair Council Bluffs and Sioux City in a single large western district, and a map that does that has a decent shot of splitting Polk and Dallas.

  10. IA-1: D+5 (Unchanged)

    IA-2: D+4 (was D+7)

    IA+3: R+1 (was D+1)

    IA-4: R+4 (IA-5, closest comparison, was R+9)

    The old IA-4 is clearly dismembered, but it was an even PVI.

    Regardless, the results I would say, assuming no one moves.

    Bruce Braley remains safe.  

    David Loebsack might be in trouble in a perfect storm.  He only won in 2010 by around 5%, and may well have lost if that election was under these borders.  D+4 is just barely in the range a Republican can hold after all.

    Leonard Boswell might also be in trouble.  He has pretty consistently won election by single-digit margins, and his district moving 2% more towards the Republicans will not be a walk in the park.  Still, I don’t think he’s personally any more endangered than Loebsack.  As an open seat, it would clearly be a toss up however.

    Most surprisingly, Steve King is probably in deep shit.  IA-4 is still Republican leaning, but only just barely (seats up to R+6 are pretty routinely winnable by Democrats).  I firmly think that under this configuration his days are numbered.  He probably couldn’t lose to Tom Lantham in the primary, given how keyed up the far right are, but he’s too conservative to hold onto this district all decade.  

    So, it could go anywhere from 1D-3R to 4D.  I suppose it’s fair, but the logical Des Moines based seat (a no-brainer based upon communities of interest), leading to a 2-1-1 configuration, probably wouldn’t be any less politically contentious.  Would the Republicans have hated one sure thing and one competitive seat more than no sure things and three competitive seats.    

  11. I would urge the GOP not to reject this map. I would also suggest Latham move to Des Moines.  In fact I think the democrats might reject this in the state senate. Here’s my thinking district by district.

    1. Steve King picks up Storey county plus several other D counties so his district becomes less GOP.  Yet who cares as his seat is fairly GOP territory.

    2. Boswell gets the shaft in this map as seat moves well to the right as it moves to the west.  I personally not even trade Ames (Latham home county of Storey) area for Council Bluff. This district is about as conservative as it can.  Latham needs to move 10 miles south.  Boswell actually moved in 2001 so yet its Iowa and that happens.

    3. Braley loses his two best counties (Scott and Clinton) plus he picks up a large new county (Linn) plus several marginal rural counties.  Braley gets a lot of new territory.  I have the old district  at 46.1% Bush in 2004 so politically its a wash.

    4. Loesback loses his home county where he basically won this seat in 2006 & 2010.  His seat was 44% in 2004 and now its  46.5%. Mercy what he wanted!!! Its two percent more republican after he won less then that?  Plus he loses his home county which was the also the biggest county he had.  Ouch.  

    So I think the D’s spin the wheel again on this one.


  12. That 3rd looks exactly like the district he represented for many years, and he’s only 61 and still practicing law in Des Moines, according to Wikipedia. Might be an option for the GOP if Latham decides to run in the 4th, which looks a lot like his 90’s district as well.  

  13. this plan by silver spring is the best plan for Iowa I’ve seen. It makes one district out of metro Des Moines instead of splitting it in 4.

  14. IA-01 has 761,548 people, -41 from ideal

    IA-02 has 761,624 people, +35 from ideal

    IA-03 has 761,612 people, +23 from ideal

    IA-04 has 761,571 people, -18 from ideal

    If this plan is rejected the new plan has to have LESS deviation then the above numbers and CANNOT spilt county lines.  I don’t know if that’s even possibly and if it is it won’t be compact. So I think a compact central Iowa district might now be off the table or it would have been drawn in first place.

  15. I get that they wanted to go for a four corners map, which makes sense to me for independence and for a rectangle shaped state.  But the fact that they strictly follow county lines makes the map look dumb and it needlessly throws incumbents together.  It’d be one thing if screwing over incumbents was meant for a grander government purpose like making the maps more representative of the populace, but they do it because they are dumb asses who make themselves strictly follow county lines.  

    I mean, who even drew the county lines of IA?  Were any of them female?  Why should we give them any say on what our congressional districts look like?  Aren’t they all long dead by now?  (Here’s the grand conspiracy to prevent IA from ever electing a woman to Congress.)

    Yup, Iowa is officially my least favorite state for redistricting.  They have all these rules so that they can look above the redistricting fray and they still come out with something that looks like gerrymandered crap drawn by sadists.

  16. Everyone here seems to hate it, which makes me sad, but people, this is a 2-0-2 map! That deathmatches Rep. Steve King and Rep. Backbencher McGee! And leaves an open seat for Tenth Lady Christie Vilsack! And doesn’t redistrict anyone in with Rep. Boswell!

    What’s not to love, exactly? Even rdelbov likes it!

  17. Just a cursory look at the Iowa Senate (I haven’t crunched and political numbers but just looking at who ended up in what district and what that likelymeans-I am former Iowa resident of 3 counties 1977-2004).

    Note, all even numbered districts are up for a 4 term next year.  Any odd numbered districts that end up with more then one incumbent or end up open will have an election for a 2 year term (in the incumbent on incumbent districts if one incumbent withdraws and the other is only in the first two years of the term then that member automatically gets the district until 2014). GOP needs two more seats for control.

    These members would be safe til 2014:

    3-Andersen R

    5-Beall D

    7-Bertrand R

    11-Houser R

    13-Sorenson R

    15-Black D

    17-Hatch D

    19-Whitver R

    23-Quirmbach D

    27-Ragan D

    31-Dotzler D

    33-Hogg D

    35-Horn D

    37-Dvorsky D

    39-Greiner R

    41-Chelgren R

    43-Bolkcom D

    45-Seng D

    47-Smith R

    49-Open would be a special election unless Bowman D moves into it. He lives slightly north is in midterm and is paired against a fellow Dem now

    These districts are definitely up and my rating:

    2 Feenstra R Safe

    4 open R leaning

    6 Kettering R Safe

    8 Gronstal D competitive

    10 open R favored

    12 Ernst R safe

    14 McKinley R favored

    16 Dearden D Safe

    18 open D Safe

    20 Zaun R Safe

    22 open R favored

    24 Behn R favored

    26 Bartz R and Wilhelm D competitive

    28 open competitive (Schoenjahn D could run here)

    30 Danielson D competitive

    32 Schoenjahn D competitive (Dix R could run here and be favored)

    34 Dandekar D competitive

    36 Sodders D leaning

    38 Kapucian R favored

    40 Reilly D competitve

    42 Fraise D favored

    44 Courtney D leaning

    46 Hammerlinck R and Hahn R leaning

    48 open competitive

    50 Jochum D Safe

    May have election if more then one incumbent contests district:

    1 Kibbie D and Johnson R (R favored, if Kibbie D retires no election)

    9 Boettger R and Seymour R (R safe Boettger keeps til 2014 if Seymour retires

    21 McCoy D and Ward R (R leaning district but McCoy gets it til 2014 if Ward doesn’t run)

    25 Dix R and Bacon R (R favored, if Dix runs in district 32 then Bacon keeps seat til 2014)

    29 Hancock D and Bowman D (D leaning if Hancock D steps down

    Bowman keeps til 2014 or Bowman could move into the 49th)

  18. if you like swing state stuff.

    Latham should run against King, because he gets a district he can hold easily for a decade.  Ay other district, and he has a tough race in 2012, and 2016, at minimum if he wins.

    If Latham doesn’t run against King, Vilsack should move to that district, as she would be universally supported if she did, and would be able to face extremist King in a district where many people currently aren’t familar with him.

    One Likely D, one lean D, one micro-lean D, one lean R.  Very sensible and fair map.  Obviously a D gerrymander would be better, but the best Dem hope, Latham and King in the same district, comes true.

    No doubt it will be rejected because these days partisanship is so polarized, if one side accepts the other will reject it for only that reason, hoping what is behind door #2 is better.

    If redistricting went like this around the country, we’d have a better country.

Comments are closed.