“I will study it. I will see what my colleagues and I think is best for the state as a whole,” said state representative Bobby Kaufmann, who chairs the state government committee. . “And then we’ll make a decision in the next couple of weeks on whether to vote yes or roll the dice and say no and see what card two brings.”
Their choice could have huge implications for the battle for control of Congress. Back in DC, Republicans complained privately that it had left them worse in their quest to reclaim the house. But lawmakers are still analyzing the state’s legislative maps, and they must all reject or approve them in a process the state sees as a “gold standard” for non-partisan redistribution.
This new congressional map takes two current swivel seats in the east and makes them less competitive – with a bias toward each party. Democratic Rep. Cindy Axne’s Des Moines district remains a real blow, and the western Iowa seat held by GOP Rep. Randy Feenstra remains firmly in the Republican column.
The proposal’s biggest loser could be GOP Rep Ashley Hinson. While a seat like hers in the northeast corner of the state is better for Republicans, her home county is being pushed into a new Democratic-leaning district further south. Much of that straddles the current seat of GOP Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks, but Miller-Meeks’ home is in the Most Republican District.
Trump won the current Hinson and Miller-Meeks districts by 3 and 4 points, respectively. In their new configurations, Joe Biden would have won the southeastern seat where Hinson lives by a significant margin, while the northeastern seat became even more Republican. Although members are not required to live in their districts. Hinson could run into the most GOP-friendly seat that was absorbing more of its territory.
If the legislator rejects the first card, the agency produces a second. If this one is rejected, they create a third one and – unlike the first two – this card can be amended or modified by the legislator. Iowa has used one of the maps created by the commission without modifying it since this process began in 1980.
But the congressional delegation has no say in the cards. And state lawmakers may be more likely to make a decision based on their own destiny.
An initial tally devised by a source in the legislature found that more than 50 of the state’s 150 incumbents would be drawn to districts with at least one other current member. But Iowaers are used to every round of redistribution, and incumbent-incumbent matches haven’t been a strong deterrent in the past. Many lawmakers are moving to a new district or using the new cards as an excuse to retire.
“There are a lot of districts that have stayed or have become more conservative,” Kaufmann said. “That’s the positive. The negative is that there are a lot of Republicans now living in the same neighborhoods as their friends. There are six one way, half a dozen another, to use an old farm term. “
Democrats in the state were more willing to bow their hands. State House Democratic caucus leader Jennifer Konfrst spoke in favor of the proposed card.
Iowa has been a rare beacon of hope for Democratic congressional recruiting this year. They eventually landed State Senator Liz Mathis, a former TV presenter whom the Democratic Congressional campaign committee had long hoped she would run for. She launched a bid against Hinson.
Miller-Meeks picked up a victory in a swivel seat in the southeastern corner of the state by the smallest of margins: six votes. State representative Christina Bohannan applied for the seat.
These new maps would upset the boundaries of these two neighborhoods, so much so that Mathis, Hinson and Bohannan would all live in the same neighborhood.
The Axne district maintains a similar partisan tendency. Although it no longer reaches as far as the Missouri River, which forms the border with Nebraska, Axne preserves the town of Des Moines.
In DC, Republicans are privately hoping their legislature counterparts decide to reject the card and some agents believe they will.
“It’s kind of like the lure of the unknown, that you always think it can be better,” said Doug Gross, a longtime GOP member in the state. “And I think just looking at Congress, I think they’ll think it could be better.”