Iowa Speaker ‘Pelosi Pat’ Grassley Gives No Indication of Whether He Supports or Opposes Pro-Democrat Redistricting

Iowa House Speaker Pat Grassley speaks to reporters after taking the oath of office during the opening day of the Iowa Legislature, Monday, Jan. 13, 2020, at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Charlie Neibergall/AP Photo

Speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives Pat Grassley has not yet indicated whether he will support or oppose a redistricting plan submitted by the state’s Legislative Services Agency (LSA) that is favorable to Democrats when it comes to a vote in the Iowa House of Representatives and the Iowa State Senate on Tuesday, giving rise to some Republicans now calling him “Pelosi Pat.”

“Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds … set a special legislative session for Oct. 5 to approve redrawn legislative and congressional district maps, and the chief justice of the state Supreme Court signed an order giving lawmakers extra time to complete their task,” the Associated Press reported.

Repeated inquiries from Breitbart News to both Grassley and State Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver, both Republicans, have received no response.

“Some Republicans are starting to call Speaker Grassley ‘Pelosi Pat’ as he continues to consider this pro-Pelosi map without dismissing it,” a senior GOP aide told Breitbart News.

As Breitbart News reported:

Speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives Pat Grassley has come under fire from conservatives for failing to oppose a Democrat-friendly redistricting plan proposed by the Iowa agency responsible for drawing the first draft of new congressional and state legislative boundaries.

Grassley’s soft approach to redistricting is a dramatic contrast to the hardball techniques being used by state legislators in blue states like New York and California. In New York, which will be losing one seat in the House of Representatives after the results of the 2020 Census were released, news reports indicate that Democrats in the New York Assembly and State Senate may try to redraw lines to eliminate as many as five Republicans from the state’s Congressional delegation.

“Considerations of political impact or whether current lawmakers would have to square off against each other should not influence state lawmakers’ votes on proposed new political boundaries in Iowa, Iowa House Speaker Pat Grassley said Friday,” the Quad-City Times reported.

Grassley, a Republican, is the grandson of Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), and is said to be contemplating a race for governor.

Under an Iowa law that has been in place for 40 years, the Iowa legislature can either accept the pro-Democrat redistricting plan submitted by the LSA last month, or reject that first plan and hope that a second redistricting plan developed by the LSA subsequent to that legislative rejection will be fairer to Republicans.

“If the first maps are rejected, the LSA has 35 days to draw up a second set of maps. Lawmakers again must vote them up or down. If that plan is rejected, the LSA again has 35 days to draw a third set. Lawmakers may amend the maps like any other legislation before approving them,” the Associated Press reported.

The Legislative Guide to Redistricting in Iowa provided by Iowa legislature elaborates:

If the second redistricting plan fails to be enacted, the Legislative Services Agency is required to submit a third plan.108 The third redistricting plan is required to be submitted to the General Assembly no later than 35 days after the second plan is disapproved. As is the case with the second plan, the third plan shall be prepared in accordance with the reasons cited for the rejection of the second plan, the Temporary Advisory Redistricting Commission is not required to hold public hearings concerning the plan, and the General Assembly is directed to proceed to a vote on the third plan no earlier than seven days after submission of the bill. However, unlike the first two plans, the third plan is subject to amendment in the same manner as any other bill.

Several Republican Iowa state legislators, speaking on background, tell Breitbart News they are unhappy with the redistricting plan presented to the legislature by the LSA, and have no indication from Republican leadership which direction they plan to go on Tuesday.

The redistricting plan addresses both Congressional and state legislative district boundaries. The plan submitted by LSA hurts several current Republican state legislators as well as one Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Several state legislators are losing the majority of their current districts, and that development does not sit well with them.

“There is mixed opinion on the first draft redistricting plan submitted by the LSA among Iowa Republican lawmakers,” one GOP state legislator told Breitbart News.

“For some people it is not very good. You have current Republican state legislators thrown in to the same district. It’s a lot more this time. That’s why there’s questioning of this LSA plan among Republicans,” the state legislator continued.

“It could go either way,” the GOP state legislator said when asked about how the vote in the state legislature on Tuesday whether to the accept or reject the first LSA redistricting plan will go.

“If we decide we don’t like this plan, we’re stuck with the second map,” the state legislator added, apparently unaware of the state legislature’s ability to force a third map from the LSA.

The GOP leadership in the Iowa House and the Iowa Senate have been silent so far on which way they will go on Tuesday, the state legislator added.

“They seem to be trying to answer this question: ‘Will this map give us an opportunity to maintain a majority?’ And then, ‘Would a second map improve or hurt our chances of maintaining a majority?’ So right now, I don’t know where they are on that,” the state legislator concluded.

As Breitbart News reported:

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 2011, the Iowa legislature approved the first LSA redistricting plan, but ten years earlier, in 2001, it rejected the first LSA plan and districts were redrawn based upon a second LSA plan.

“Following the 2010 United States Census, Iowa lost one congressional seat. The Legislative Services Agency released its proposed congressional and state legislative maps on March 31, 2011. The maps were approved in both the Democratic Iowa State Senate and the Republican Iowa House of Representatives. On April 19, 2011, Governor Terry Branstad (R) signed the maps into law,” Ballotpedia reported.

“In the redistricting cycle following the 2000 United States Census, the Iowa State Legislature rejected the first proposal submitted by the Legislative Services Agency. The second proposal was approved and enacted on June 22, 2001,” Ballotpedia reported.

In 1980, the Iowa legislature approved the third redistricting proposal from the LSA after rejecting the first two drafts.

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