Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Presumptive 2012 Iowa Congressional Districts

With the 2010 campaigns currently stuck in neutral, I decided to make a different type of prediction this year. While I certainly have my eye on a few gubernatorial possibilities like Mark Pearson and Matt Whitaker, neither have made any moves that would indicate that a statewide campaign is looming. Currently the only candidate out there is perennial candidate Bob Vander Plaats. The candidate who I was most likely to name this year if I went that direction was Chuck Grassley. Sure he’s already an icon in this state, but I get the sense that we will see a more engaged candidate Grassley this cycle which is very much needed.

Instead of predicting a breakout candidate, I’ve decided to make an early guess in how Iowa’s congressional districts will look after the 2011 redistricting where Iowa will lose one of its seats in Congress. I wanted to take this approach for a couple of reasons. One, I find it fun. Two, as a party we need to always have an eye to the future, and three, redistricting should effect the rebuilding effort that RPI will go through this cycle.

Now, for you hardcore government employee geeks, I did this while watching football on a piece of paper while enjoying my favorite beverage. I also realize that the new 4th CD has a larger population than that of the other 3 districts, but remember, I’m trying to predict what the map will look like, so I intentionally made the new 4th more populous now, because counties like Polk, Dallas, Linn, and Scott will continue to grow while the rest of the state is stagnate.

Here are some of the things I found interesting:

I intended to keep Linn and Johnson County in the same district but doing so proved to be difficult. Keeping the two counties together became difficult. Then I remembered that the first redistricting plan in 2001 spit the two, and the new 2nd CD is very similar to the 2nd CD in the first attempt for the 2001 redistricting.

There has been a lot of discussion about the possibility of the new 3rd district would stretch south to pick up Wapello county, giving former 2nd congressional candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks a new district to run in. That scenario is almost impossible. The 2nd CD did see significant change however, but if you are looking for a Republican candidate my search would probably start in Scott County.

I think this redistricting plan proves most difficult for Loebsack. Running in a much larger more diverse district could get him in a lot of trouble. On the other hand, King, Latham, and Braley all would do well in their districts.

I will be writing more about this in the coming weeks. I’m interested to hear your thoughts.

First District (Salmon)
19 Counties
Population: 743,729
24.9% of state pop

Second District (Yellow)
22 Counties
Population: 742,687
24.9% of state pop

Third District (Blue)
12 Counties
Population: 741,372
24.8% of state pop

Fourth District (Purple)
46 Counties
Population: 756,017
25.3% of state pop

(Click on map to enlarge it)


  1. I think your map would give the GOP one seat and the Democrats 3 seats - long term but probably two and two as long as Latham runs.

    I think Latham could hold KK-CD3 but a lesser known GOPer would need to really keep the margins down in Polk County and run up the score as much as possible in the more rural areas.

  2. I have trouble believing the Dummycrat controlled legislature would put Loebsack (Mount Vernon) & Braley (Waterloo) in the same district.

  3. Very nice work Hershel... man, the inner kack geek comes out when I see the new maps... here's some thoughts...

    - 3rd is still 12 Counties
    - God's Country, Iowa in the same District as DSM? Say it ain't so.
    - Latham vs. who? What's the list of Dems for possible opponents?
    - If King doesn't run for Gov, adding new counties certainly doesn't hurt him.
    - Now I really have a tin hat with this one... Bill Salier for Congress if King happens to move on to something else? This is 4-6 years down the road... thoughts?

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. 1. Loebsack can move to Johnson County and nobody will care.

    2. Dems don't draw the map. R's didn't draw it when they were in control and saw Leach and Nussle in the same CD.

  6. Hershel... Typically..you have one rep for every 600,000 residents in a state...so I dont know if your math works out or not..

    I pity the folks over at LSB who have to attempt to draw up the maps without it looking gerrymandered...

    Liter..The Dems may not have much choice...Iowa's going to lose a seat no matter what...and the majority of Iowa's population is concentrated in Eastern Iowa.

  7. If that were the case then we would need to add seats in congress. My history book says there are only 435 members. Using your logic then we should have 509 reps.

  8. Krusty:

    Nice evaluation. Sorta frightening.

    Having participated in the re-districting process in the past, I would assert there is a bit more politics involved and Democrats will have some ability to control the appearance of the map.

    As usual, nice work!


    Ed Failor, Jr.

  9. Peace Through Strength is misinformed - the number per district is always changes every 10 years.


    King: Count citizens, not people
    On Sunday, we’ll run a feature looking at the possibility of Iowa dropping from five to four congressional districts following the 2010 census count. Iowa has reportedly gained population from 2.92 million in 2000 to an estimated 3 million in late 2008, but that 75,000 increase isn’t keeping pace with the growth in other states, so the loss of the congressional seat is a real possibility.

    In interviewing Iowa 5th District Congressman Steve King on the topic, the first thing the Republican (who will begin his fourth term next week) wanted to talk about was the census count itself. King quickly contended that the count should only include citizens, not people, since illegal immigrants otherwise get improperly included. He said that’s important because otherwise states with a high number of noncitizen residents received a higher population count, skewing their congressional representation totals in the 435-member U.S. House.

    “I am morally and as a matter of principle opposed to giving representation in Congress to people who are unlawfully here,” King said.

    King said about seven million to eight million illegal immigrants responded to the 2000 census, resulting in nine to 11 congressional seats being placed in states with high numbers of noncitizens, like Texas, California and Florida. That, King said, takes valid congressional seats from states like Indiana, Michigan, Montana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Utah and Pennsylvania — and could make a difference, he said, in whether Iowa can hold onto all five seats, depending on how the 2010 count is conducted.

    It’s no surprise King is speaking out on illegal immigration, it is a continued topic in his arsenal of key issues. King said he’s put forth a bill making it the census practice to only include citizens, but he’s not hopeful it will become law.

    “This is way, way out of balance, and we’ve got to turn up the focus on this, so we understand going into this census what we’re doing,” King said.

  10. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Census,_2000

    As of the 2000 census-

    Average population of each Congressional District--646,946 people.

    So..take that as you will Hershel..

  11. Peace Through Strength - IT CHANGES EVERY 10 YEARS!!!!!

    You are wrong. Sorry.

  12. My guess is that in the new 3rd District under the dynamics laid out by Krusty, we could see any number of match-ups. I think its probably safe to say, that Tom Latham would be our nominee, but Democrats would have a full gambit of options. They may try to pull Leonard back out of mothballs to attempt to negate Latham’s incumbent advantage. Personally, I think that would be political suicide considering even Democrats don’t like Boswell and with the loss of the home field advantage in counties outside of Polk like Jasper, Marion, Mahaska, Lucas, Monroe, etc, Leonard would get killed by Latham. There are also a few Democrats who would like a crack at Congress around Des Moines. My guess is that you would see a 2 (possibly 3) way primary between IA Rep. Kevin McCarthy, IA Sen. Jack Hatch and possibly IA Rep Geri Huser. Against all 3, I think Latham has a clear edge due to the advantage of his incumbency and strength in the counties around Polk as illustrated in Krusty’s map.

    I also disagree with the anon poster from earlier who thought that without Latham under the new Krusty map we would go from 2 to 1 Republicans in Congress from Iowa. I think Latham is clearly our best option in that district but when/if Latham leaves I think there is a pretty solid bench in that District to hold the seat if Latham were to leave office for some reason. To name a few, you have Polk County Supervisor Bob Brownell, IA Sen. Brad Zahn, IA Rep. Jodi Tymeson, State Auditor David Vaudt, US Attorney Matt Whitaker, former IA Sen. Jeff Lamberti, former IA Rep. Carmine Boal, former IA Rep. Libby Jacobs just to name a few.

  13. this map means nothing but krusty's interpretation, what many don't know is the partisanship is not totally out of the picture. Correct me if I am wrong
    but the legislature will vote on the maps, and they will have options, they will pick which ever option gives them the best advantage, making the 3rd and 2nd more Republican leaning district is not to there advantage, they may not have a choice, but it depends on what the other options are, Krusty why don't you draw a couple of other maps to compare this one too

  14. doesn't redistricting also happen for the state level?, won't different areas disappear and others spring up like in West des moines and Waukee

  15. Anon 11:04 is right. We'll probably see 1 or maybe 2 entirely new house districts pop up in the outer suburbs of Des Moines. The districts held by Watts (Dallas), Helland (Johnston) and Koester (Ankeny) are going to get carved up. This new seat should be a good district for us.

  16. Here is the problem 11:02. The map is drawn by an independent 3rd party, and it is done strictly by population. The legislature dose vote on the maps and it does lend its self to some degree of partisanship. However, the ruling party has to be very careful in their efforts to skew the districts to their favor. A flagrant effort to deliberately skew a district for one party or another is gerrymandering which is illegal. Also, Iowa history doesn’t lend its self to that prospect. Remember, Democrats controlled the legislature in 1990 when the districts that gave us Latham, Ganske and Nussle were drawn. Conversely, Republicans controlled the legislature in 2000 when the districts that gave us Brailey and Loebsack were drawn so we’ll have to see what the 2010 census gives us and go from there. Krusty’s map is just one of what will probably be several options, but given population in Iowa by region, it seems fairly probable.

  17. However.. the big difference between federal redistricting and state redistricting is that a county can't be split up in a congressional district...state legislative districts can..

    Dems are more likely to try to do a lot more gerrymandering of state legislative districts as a result...

  18. Peace Through Strength - you have to take into account that the nation's population as a whole has grown, and that is the number that 435 will go into. There will be a new census showing growth in population, so the residents per seat will go up. I can't BELIEVE we have to explain remedial math to you. Unreal.

    Krusty - nice carving. Looks pretty good from where I'm at.

    Wes - thanks for reminding us that there's hope for the future. That's a really solid bench we've got for the seat.

    All - While it's drawn up non-politically, they still have to vote on it, which is WHY it's more important that EVER to get a GOP governor in there, who ultimately signs or vetoes the plan.

  19. Interesting map. One thing I think you're definitely right on is the creation of the Des Moines-Dallas Co.-Ames Superdistrict. No more talk about "urban-rural mix" this cycle.

    However, I think it is possible to work the numbers to keep Linn in the 2nd and Scott in the 1st. Add Mason City into the 1st, add Ft. Dodge into the 4th, and shrink the size of the 2nd a little bit, leaving Warren and Marion in the 3rd. Should come out similar, and everyone gets to stay put.

  20. Whatever happened to Iowa's education being one of, if not the, best in the country? What ever happened to Republicans being some of the better educated people of the country?

    Our Republicans that post on here are lousy spellers, and please, don't bother with the excuse about typing too fast, these are just plain "don't know any better" spelling errors.

  21. Peace - Wrong again. Legislative districts HAVE to be contained within one congressional districts and cannot be split up.

    Can someone please drop an anvil on this guy's head?

  22. Anon...You're completely misunderstanding what I'm saying. Drop the anvil on your toe, because you can't read for content Anon.

    A county can't be split in two congressional districts..that's prohibited. However a county can be split in different state legislative districts.

    That's where the mischief will occur.

    If you dont think the Dems will gerrymander the state legislative districts to benefit them as much as possible..you're nuts.

  23. 12:00 Peace is correct on that - but utterly retarded in his/her 600,000 idea.

    Still an idiot.

  24. Ghost of Ted SporerJanuary 6, 2009 at 12:32 PM


    On the Dem side I think you can safely add to the mix Preston Daniels, Matt McCoy and Mike Mauro.

    On the GOP side you could add Chris Hensley, but I agree that Latham is the big dog.

  25. Good point on Preston Ghost. I had almost forgotten about him. McCoy could be an interesting candidate. I’m not sure how is personal issues or that federal prosecution for racketeering would play in a Democratic primary that wasn’t restricted to the South of Grand neighborhood he represents. I don’t know if I see MIKE Mauro … I can see JOHN Mauro jumping in though. Mike wants to be Governor and SoS probably is a better political position for him than Congress given our states history of Congressmen running for the top job. John on the other hand would revel in the pay-to-play environment that Congressional Democrats seem to be engaged in now that they have the majority.

    I do think it’s a fair bet that Fallon would be back for that primary. With Hatch and McCarthy splitting up the labor Democrats, a Huser and Daniels splitting up the suburban moderate Democrats you could see a scenario where Fallon and his Socialist wing are able to wedge a plurality and either win on primary day or at the very least force the election into a convention situation where Fallon’s people would have an advantage.

  26. Seriously? You clowns are name calling over specific ins and outs of redistricting.

    Dumb fucks.

  27. 1:43,

    Pot, meet kettle.

  28. Krusty:

    I haven't posted a comment here before, but hope you know there's a "silent majority" that appreciates your analysis and insights. Though I follow state politics, I'll confess I have little knowledge of redistricting, and I learned a lot from your post. A person can learn a lot from reading your posts, like this one, provided they ignore the often immature ramblings and name-calling in the comments section. Keep up the good work, and God bless you.

    Brent Hoffman
    Sioux City

  29. Brent...I think you made Herschel cry?

    Take a deep breath folks....there's some rare air in Krustyville today!!

    Thanks Brent! We need more just like you!

  30. Interesting and not far off what I expect; Mount Vernon is practically Johnson County anyway and there's moving precedent on both sides of the aisle (Harkin, Leach, Boswell).

    Latham beats Leonard. I've argued at some length that the only way the Dems get 3-1 is to ease Boswell out, which I'm sure wins me no friends at IDP HQ.

    What you're all forgetting, and what I learned in the 1991 map, is that legislative votes aren't about Congressional districts or even about party. They're about *legislator's OWN districts.*

  31. Krishna has some harsh words for RPI and konservative bloggers at Iowa Independent. What will good old Krusty say about that?

  32. so much for the SCC's criticism of CD2 Chairs for airing "dirty laundry" outside 621 E 9th Street -- Gopal's tossing bombs everywhere...


  33. I think it may be time for the SCC to boot Gopal again. His conduct here basically shows that his behavior is no different today than it was in 1998. He views his colleges on the SCC and activists in the grassroots around the state as idiots who should all fall to their knees and worship him. Now that it looks like they won’t, he’s out doing the same kind of damage to the party he was just bashing 2nd District chairs for doing. If it was wrong for Jim Conklin to do what he did (and it was) then this letter was wrong of Gopal Krishna.

    The SCC will have a new chairman on Saturday and with a cancer like Krishna on the committee, or worse yet, as Treasurer I can’t see how that person is going to lead us forward. If anyone is acting like a “Kindergartner” its Krishna. He doesn’t get his way, so he throws a fit and runs home crying to anyone foolish enough to listen to him.

  34. Was this a topic of discussion on Deace last night?

  35. Gee, what did Gopal say that was wrong? Look how childish all these people have been on this blog. Who on earth would want to be the president of the Student Council Committee? We haven't bottomed out yet. We will be living blue for decades until the people who think door knocking and phone calling is all we need to do to elect republicans, with nothing regarding a coherent unified message that explains that all of our legislative premises are built on Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. The democrats can't explain their legislation on any of those things.

    Those folks are still in charge and aren't going anywhere soon.

  36. Thanks Lisa. Glad you could join us. Now if only you could call your consituents back.

  37. Anon 11:29, it isnt that what he said was wrong, its that most of what he said is a direct reslt of his activities. We need to have a leader that can bring the various factions of the party together and build a cohesive strategy along with our legislative leadership. The only thing that I have seen over the course of the last 6 months is that the person we are looking for is not Gopal Krishna. He talks to people as though they are stupid and should grovel in awe of his magnificence. Funny thing is, he isn’t even that magnificent. He is kind of a joke and now that he has been rebuked by the SCC he is throwing a fit in classic Gopal style.

    The only chance Gopal Krishna ever had of uniting this party was to be so universally hated that the various factions would come together to get rid of him.

  38. As long as Krusty uses his blog as junior high style slambook, there will never be unity. I find it interesting that there are so so many comments on krusty, but almost none on the other blogs. the writing styles are so consistent that i think krusty is making most of the posts - funny how so many seem to reinforce what krusty and yoda have had to say, isn't it?

  39. Keep thinking that way 2:09. My stat counter tell me otherwise.

  40. Really krusty? who kares. You run a junior high slam book. Thanks for turning us on to Iowa Independent though.

  41. the Dems have plenty of "young guns" that could run for Congress out of DSM. Janet Pederson, Kevin McCarthy, Geri Huser,Mike Kiernan, Jamie Fitzgerald, Brian Meyer, Matt McCoy, Gordon Fischer, Mike Milligan are all around 40 and could win and hold the seat for a long time.

    The Repubs have great candidates if Latham runs for higher office. Isiah McGhee, Eric Helland, Kevin Koester, Peter Cownie, the aforementioned candidate Bob Brownell, Boal, Jacobs, Charles Schneider would all be tough candidates for demos.

  42. Thanks for the Dem list there 8:13. But we Demos would rather lose than hurt Leonard's feelings.

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