Iowa Legislature passes redistricting plan
By Tyler Millhouse
DES MOINES, Iowa: The Iowa State Legislature has approved the first redistricting proposal offered by the Iowa Legislative Services Agency. The plan, approved Thursday morning, passed by a 48-1 margin in the State Senate and a 90-7 margin in the Iowa House. All three maps -- Congressional, Senate, and House -- were included in the proposal.
Iowa's process, considered by many observers to be a model of nonpartisan redistricting, considers no partisan factors in drafting maps. In addition, state legislators are not permitted to modify the bills as generated by the agency until two successive drafts have been rejected. The first two bills must be given a simple "up or down" vote.
The maps are generally acknowledged to favor Democrats, but GOP leaders supported the plan rather than risk a new round of maps that could have been even less friendly to state legislative incumbents. The bill now moves to Governor Terry Branstad who is expected to sign the legislation into law.
The congressional plan as passed puts Representatives Tom Latham (R) and Steve King (R) together in District 4 and pairs Reps. Bruce Braley (D) and Dave Loebsack (D) together in the First District. However, Loebsack lives only 20 miles from District 2 and Johnson County, the Democratic stronghold of his current district. In addition. Rep. Leonard Boswell (D) will remain alone in District 3, leaving District 2 open for Loebsack should he choose to move their to run in the next election.
The state plan involves seven matchups between state senators -- 1 Democratic pair, 2 bi-partisan matchups and 3 Republican pairs. Notably, the plan pairs Senate President Jack Kibbie (D) with incumbent Republican David Johnson (R). In the House, 3 districts pair Democratic incumbents, 9 districts pair Republicans, and 1 district has a bi-partisan matchup. A total of 14 of the state's 100 House districts are left with no current incumbent.
In the 2012 elections, 25 Senate districts will be up for election. All of the odd districts were elected in 2010 and serve four-year terms. Thus, the even districts will hold elections in 2012. All 100 House districts are up for election in 2012.
Approved 2011 maps
The maps as passed by legislature can be found below:
- The state has also released several interactive maps integrated into Google Maps--Congress, State Senate, State House.
- Rueters, "Iowa legislature approves redistricting plan," April 14, 2011
- Politico, "Iowa OKs redistricting plan," April 14, 2011
- Des Moines Register, "Democratic edge seen in initial redistricting proposal for Iowa," April 1, 2011
- DesMoines Register, "Seven pairings in Iowa Senate redistricting proposal," March 31, 2011
- The American Independent, "New Iowa redistricting map pits Tom Latham against Steve King in 4th District," March 31, 2011 (dead link)
- The Iowa Independent, "Proposed redistricting plan brings minor legislative shifts," March 31, 2011
- Iowa Legislature, Iowa Redistricting 2011