Branstad to sign Iowa redistricting plan

Proposed Iowa districts
Proposed Iowa districts

Gov. Terry Branstad said Friday he will sign into law the new proposed congressional and legislative district boundaries approved by the Legislature.

The new redistricting maps will govern Iowa’s political landscape for the next 10 years, beginning with the 2012 election.

“I intend to sign it. I think the system that we had in Iowa is a good system,” Branstad said during the taping of Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” show, which will air this evening and again Sunday.

“Although nothing is perfect, I think they’ve done a very good job,” the governor said. “I don’t think either party has any advantage out of this.”

On Thursday, the Iowa House approved the new redistricting plan by a 91-7 margin and the Iowa Senate followed suit with a 48-1 verdict.

Slow population growth the past decade has resulted in Iowa losing one congressional seat. The redistricting plan drawn up by the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency reshaped Iowa’s current five congressional districts into four for the 2012 election and reconfigures legislative districts in a way that would throw about a third of the current House and Senate incumbents together under the new proposed boundaries.

The new congressional configuration would throw current GOP incumbent Congressmen Steve King of Kiron and Tom Latham of Ames together in a new 4th congressional district in northwest and north-central Iowa, and Democratic incumbent Congressmen Bruce Braley of Waterloo and Dave Loebsack of Mount Vernon both reside in the newly proposed 1st District in northeast and east-central Iowa. U.S. Rep. Leonard Boswell, D-Des Moines, would be the incumbent in the new 3rd district stretching more Des Moines to Council Bluffs, while the newly proposed 2nd District is an open seat for now in southeast and southern Iowa.

Loebsack has announced his plan to move his residency into the newly drawn 2nd District, while Latham announced today that he plans to relocate in the 3rd District, where Boswell currently resides.

Branstad said he thought reapportionment “would be good for the real estate business.”Nearly a third of the members of the Iowa Legislature also currently reside in a new district with another incumbent.