Ops Blog | What’s going on with Iowa redistricting?

The Daily Iowan Opinions staff discusses the redistricting process so far and its future implications for Iowa.


Graphic by Kelsey Harrell

DI Opinions Staff

Sophie Stover (Opinions Contributor) – Last week, Iowa Senate Republicans rejected the first map proposed by the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency. How do we feel about this move, and what’s next?

Shahab Khan (Opinions Columnist) – It is a strategic Republican gamble, they are going to want to maximize the amounts of seats they can gain. From what it seems from afar, they want to gerrymander Iowa in their favor.

Hannah Pinski (Opinions editor) – Republican leaders who argued against the first map said it could be improved in compactness and population. But I agree, Shahab, it seems like a cover up so they can gerrymander Iowa in their favor.

Yassie Buchanan (Opinions Columnist) – Apart from these official concerns, Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks and Ashley Hinson would be in the same district.

Shahab: Hence, why Republicans do not want to pass this map. It kind of leans into Democrats favor and splits Iowa, giving Democrats and Republicans an equal share of the seats. FiverThirtyEight contends that under the first plan, the median seat in Iowa would have a +3.1 advantage in favor of democrats, compared to the state’s partisan lean.

Sophie: Essentially, the proposed map was fair. IA-01 would shift from lean red to lean blue, IA-02 and IA-03 would be relatively up in the air, and IA-04 would get even redder than before. Each party would have a guaranteed seat and they’d have to fight for the other two.

Hannah: Not to mention, the IA-03 is overpopulated. Population growth has also happened in IA-02 as well as Johnson County.

Yassie: So true, Johnson County in particular grew 16.8 percent and Dallas County over 50 percent in the last decade. One of the things propelling growth in Johnson County was the doubling of the Black population in Iowa City. I wonder what the population change looks like in each district?

Shahab: The committee will design another map where the population is more balanced between the districts. Right now, IA-03 needs to lose about 75,000 people for the map to be more equal in population distribution.

Sophie: I’m speculating here, but what are the chances Axne gets a compact district in Central Iowa? I could see this as a potential option, because one district would be solid blue, while the other three all either lean red or are solid for the GOP. I’d think Republicans would agree to this, so long as. Miller-Meeks and Hinson are in separate districts.

Shahab: I think this would be what Republicans would want, if they could manage to get Cedar Rapids packed in the district with Des Moines and its surrounding suburbs, the new map would be 3-1 in favor of the GOP.

Yassie: Interesting. Zach Wahls, Senate Minority Leader, tweeted that Iowa has never amended a third map, and he believes that Republicans are pushing toward a third map, potentially leading to partisan gerrymandering.

Hannah: Hopefully, the next map proposed by the LSA is approved with bipartisan support. If not, Iowa might become another blatantly gerrymandered state.


Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.