116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
A redistricting plan released Thursday would make major changes to Iowa’s four congressional districts, including putting Linn and Johnson counties into a new 1st District.
Currently, Linn is in the 20-county 1st District that includes Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, Waterloo and Marshalltown. And Johnson County is in the 24-county 2nd District.
The proposed map, released by the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency, would create a 12-county southeast Iowa 1st District running from Linn, Jones and Clinton counties on the north to Lee County on the south.
Map of proposed Iowa congressional districts:
One impact is that 1st District Rep. Ashley Hinson of Marion would be the incumbent in the new 1st District, though Linn and Jones would be the only two counties she currently represents.
Second District Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks would be the incumbent in the new 26-county 2nd District stretching from Wapello County, where she lives, to the Iowa-Minnesota border.
Map of current congressional districts in Iowa:
The redistricting plan also redraws the 50 Iowa Senate districts and 100 House districts.
State legislative and federal congressional districts must be as equal in population as possible.
Iowa legislators will meet in special session Oct. 5 to vote yes or no on the proposed map. If approved, the map goes to Gov. Kim Reynolds for her signature.
If not, the Legislative Services Agency will draw a second map subject to a yes-or-no vote without any changes.
If lawmakers reject that map, a third map will be produced. It can be amended by the Legislature.
» See all the proposed maps: House, Senate and closer looks at Linn and Johnson counties
» Interactive map: See if your districts would change under the proposed plans
The clock is ticking for lawmakers.
Under the Iowa Constitution, if redistricting is not completed by Sept. 15, the issue goes to the state Supreme Court. However, the court has given the Legislature until Dec. 1 to complete the process, given pandemic delays in completing the census, which is used to draw the new districts.
“Obviously, we want to get this done as quickly as possible with some of the deadlines that are looming,” House Speaker Pat Grassley, R-New Hartford, told Radio Iowa.
An early comparison of the proposed map with the current map suggests 61of the 150 incumbent state lawmakers would be in a district with another incumbent. According to various sources, 24senators and 37 representatives would be are thrown into a district with at least one other incumbent.
In 2001, 54 legislators ended up in a district with another incumbent. In 2011, it was 41.
“No one’s putting up ‘for sale’ signs,” Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Ross Wilburn, a state representative from Ames, said.
Grassley advised his Republican colleagues “to take a deep breath, make sure you don't overreact.”
“At the end of the day, we're all still Republicans and, as a caucus, we want to be successful, so take a step back and take some time to evaluate it,” Grassley said.
Ten years ago, lawmakers approved the first map prepared by the Legislative Services Agency. In 2001, they rejected the first and approved the second.
Under the proposed redistricting plan, no current members of the U.S. House are thrown into a district with another incumbent.
However, Hinson and Miller-Meeks would be in unfamiliar territory.
Their would-be Democratic challengers — state Sen. Liz Mathis of Hiawatha and state Rep. Christina Bohannan of Iowa City — both would be in the new 1st District. Under the current map, Mathis is in the 1st and Bohannan in the 2nd.
Rep. Cindy Axne from Polk County is alone in a new 17-county 3rd District running from Dallas and Polk counties to the Missouri border.
In the 4th, Rep. Randy Feenstra would be in a 44-county district stretching from the southwest corner of Iowa to the Minnesota state from Lyon to Howard County.
The new 1st District would include three of Iowa’s four most populous counties — Linn with 223,861 people, Scott with 172,446 and Johnson with 148,577. That would be 68 percent of the population of the district’s 797,655 residents.
According to the Legislative Services Agency, which worked off the 2020 census that counted 3,190,369 Iowans, the ideal congressional district should have 797,592 residents.
As proposed, the new 1st District would have 63 more residents than the ideal number. The new 2nd District would have 36 fewer than the ideal, the 3rd District eight fewer and the 4th District 18 fewer.
The new 2nd District would be anchored by Black Hawk County with 132,393 residents, Dubuque with 96,982 and Story County with 96,941 — 41 percent of the 2nd District population.
Des Moines and the fast-growing metro counties around it would anchor the new 3rd district.
The 4th, which now has 39 counties, would increase by five counties, including Pottawattamie County.
While it’s too soon to know how congressional races would play out in the new districts, President Joe Biden won the new 1st by 8.7 percentage points and the 3rd by 0.2 percentage points. Former President Donald Trump carried the new 2nd District by 10.8 percent and the 4th by 31.5 points.
Iowans will get opportunities to weigh in on the new maps during three virtual public hearings next week.
The Temporary Redistricting Advisory Commission will have virtual public hearings from 7 to 9 p.m. Sept. 20, noon to 3 p.m. Sept. 21, and 6 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 22.
For more information on redistricting or to register for a hearing, visit legis.iowa.gov/legislators/redistricting.
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