The nominally “nonpartisan” Iowa redistricting agency released a decidedly Democrat-friendly map on Thursday, setting the stage for a possible rejection by the Iowa Legislature, where Republicans enjoy large majorities in both the State Senate and the State House of Representatives.
You can read the 35 page report dated September 16, 2021 and released by the Iowa Legislative Services Agency [LSA] on Thursday, titled, “First Redistricting Plan,” here.
Notably, the report states:
Iowa Code section 42.4(5) provides that a district shall not be drawn for the purpose of favoring a political party, incumbent legislator or member of Congress, or other person or group, or for the purpose of augmenting or diluting the voting strength of a language or racial minority group. Data that shall not be used in establishing districts include addresses of incumbent legislators or members of Congress, political affiliations of registered voters, previous election results, and any demographic information, other than population head counts, except as required by the Constitution and the laws of the United States.
The Legislative Services Agency did not consider the addresses of incumbents, the political affiliations of registered voters, previous election results, or demographic information other than population headcounts in the development of congressional, senatorial, and representative districts. Following the development of proposed Senate and House districts, the Legislative Services Agency reviewed information indicating which districts in the proposed plan incumbent Senators elected from an evennumbered or odd-numbered district resided for purposes of numbering Senate districts in accordance with Iowa law. (emphasis added)
After analyzing the impact of the newly proposed Congressional District boundaries, Kyle Kondick, managing editor of Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball, tweeted, “this is a map Ds will like better than Rs.”
So, just built this in DRA:
IA-1 53-45 Biden
IA-2 54-44 Trump
IA-3 49-49 Biden (by 0.2)
IA-4 65-33 Trump
So this would keep IA-3 as a Toss-up, and give Ds a great chance to win one of the two eastern districts. In other words, this is a map Ds will like better than Rs https://t.co/i42UV2PyT7
— Kyle Kondik (@kkondik) September 16, 2021
Under the currently drawn boundaries for Iowa’s four Congressional Districts, three Republicans and one Democrat were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2020.
Under the new boundaries, two districts would be likely Republican, one would be likely Democrat, and one, Iowa’s Third Congressional District, would be a “Toss-up,” Klondike tweeted, though Biden narrowly won the district.
President Trump easily defeated Joe Biden in Iowa in 2020 by eight points.
The “nonpartisan” redistricting agency’s new map crowds Iowa’s 4th District with Trump voters, while spreading more Biden voters into Iowa’s three other Congressional Districts.
“Any legislator who supports this map will be effectively helping Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats keep control of the House of Representatives,” a senior GOP aide told Breitbart News.
The most egregious gerrymandering in the “nonpartisan” redistricting agency map is found in the new map of Iowa’s First Congressional District, currently represented by rising Republican star Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-IA), Under the current boundaries of that district, Donald Trump received 3.4 percent more votes than Biden in 2020. But in the new boundaries proposed by the “nonpartisan” LSA, Biden received 8.7 percent more votes than Trump in 2020. In effect, the “nonpartisan” LSA has intentionally decided to redraw the First Congressional District boundaries to make it almost impossible for Rep. Hinson to get re-elected in 2022.
The Constitution requires state legislatures to redraw the boundaries of Congressional and State Legislature districts every ten years, based on population data obtained in each new census, but it leaves the manner in which those boundaries are redrawn up to the states.
In Iowa, state laws established the Iowa Legislative Services Agency [LSA], purportedly “nonpartisan,” to redraw the maps and then deliver them to the Iowa Legislature for approval.
“Three days after they receive the report [from the LSA], lawmakers may meet in special session to vote on the maps,” The Associated Press reported:
Republicans hold a majority in the Iowa Legislature so they will have the power to approve or reject the first set of maps. They must be approved or rejected without modification.
If rejected the LSA must within 35 days draw up a second set of maps and lawmakers again will vote them up or down. If that plan is rejected a third set is drawn by the LSA within 35 days and lawmakers may amend the maps like any other legislation before approving them.
In 2000 the legislature rejected the first set of maps but approved the second and in 2010 lawmakers approved the first set of maps.
Breitbart News contacted Speaker of the House Pat Grassley, grandson of Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), and Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver and asked if they anticipated possible rejection of the newly released plan by the state legislature.
“Since this map clearly favors Democrats, will the Iowa Legislature reject it and seek a less partisan map?,” Breitbart News asked both Iowa legislative leaders.
As of 5:00 p.m. CT Thursday, Breitbart News did not receive a response from either state legislative leader.