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Iowa Republicans face dilemma after commission scrambles congressional map

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“I will examine it. I will see what I and my colleagues assume is greatest for the state as a collective entire,” mentioned state Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, who chairs the state authorities committee. “After which we’ll decide within the subsequent couple of weeks about whether or not to do a sure vote, or roll the cube and say no and see what map two brings.”

Their alternative might have enormous implications for the battle for management of Congress. Again in D.C., Republicans privately griped that it left them worse off of their quest to reclaim the Home. However legislators are nonetheless analyzing the state legislative maps, and so they should reject or approve all of them in union in a course of that the state holds up as a “gold commonplace” for nonpartisan redistricting.

This new congressional map takes two present swing seats within the east and makes them much less aggressive — with one leaning towards every celebration. The Des Moines-based district of Democratic Rep. Cindy Axne stays a real toss up, and the western Iowa seat held by GOP Rep. Randy Feenstra stays firmly within the Republican column.

The most important loser within the proposal might be GOP Rep. Ashley Hinson. Whereas a seat like hers within the state’s northeast nook is best for Republicans, her dwelling county is shoved into a brand new, Democratic-leaning district farther south. A lot of that territory overlaps with GOP Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ present seat, however Miller-Meeks’ house is within the extra Republican district.

Trump carried Hinson’s and Miller-Meeks’ present districts by 3 and 4 factors, respectively. Of their new configurations, Joe Biden would have gained the southeastern seat the place Hinson lives by a big margin, whereas the northeastern seat grew to become much more Republican. Although members usually are not required to dwell of their districts. Hinson might run within the extra GOP-friendly seat that absorbed extra of her territory.

If the legislature rejects the primary map, the company produces a second. If that one is rejected, they create a 3rd and — in contrast to the primary two — this map may be amended or modified by the legislature. Iowa has used one of many commission-created maps with out amending it since this process began in 1980.

However the congressional delegation has no say within the maps. And the state legislators are maybe extra more likely to decide primarily based on their very own fates.

An preliminary tally devised by a supply within the legislature discovered that over 50 of the state’s 150 incumbents can be drawn into districts with at the very least one different present member. However Iowans are used to that each redistricting cycle, and incumbent-on-incumbent pairings have not been a robust deterrent previously. Many legislators both transfer into a brand new district or use the brand new maps as an excuse to retire.

“There are a variety of districts that both stayed or acquired extra conservative,” Kaufmann mentioned. “That is the constructive. The unfavorable is that there are a variety of Republicans that at the moment are dwelling in the identical districts as their mates. There’s six a technique, half dozen the opposite, to make use of an outdated farm time period.”

Democrats within the state had been extra prepared to tip their hand. The state Home Democratic caucus chief, Jennifer Konfrst, got here out within the help of the proposed map.

Iowa has been a uncommon shiny spot for congressional Democratic recruitment this yr. They lastly landed state Sen. Liz Mathis, a former TV anchor who the Democratic Congressional Marketing campaign Committee had lengthy hoped would run. She launched a bid towards Hinson.

Miller-Meeks eked out a victory in a swing seat within the southeast nook of the state by the slimmest of margins: six votes. State Rep. Christina Bohannan has filed to run in that seat.

These new maps would shake up the boundaries of these two districts — a lot in order that Mathis, Hinson and Bohannan would all dwell in the identical district.

Axne’s district maintains the same partisan lean. Although it now not reaches all the best way to the Missouri River, which kinds the border with Nebraska, Axne retains the town of Des Moines.

In D.C., Republicans are privately hoping their counterparts within the legislature determine to reject the map and a few operatives consider they are going to.

“It is sort of just like the attract of the unknown, that you simply all the time assume it may be higher,” mentioned Doug Gross, a longtime GOP operative within the state. “And I believe simply trying on the congressional aspect, I believe they’re going to assume it might be higher.”

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