Ops Blog | Should Iowa Republicans vote for the second proposed redistricting map?

The Daily Iowan Opinions Staff discusses the second proposed map and what it could mean for the state.


Graphic by Kelsey Harrell

DI Opinions Staff

Shahab Khan (Opinions Columnist): It looks like that the Iowa state Legislature is voting on a second redistricting map on Oct. 28. What are our thoughts on the map and the chances that it passes?

Sophie Stover (Opinions Contributor): Honestly, I’m not sure what I think about it. There are a lot of variables at play, one being that Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks’s residence in Ottumwa is slated to join Iowa’s third district where Rep. Cindy Axne lives.

Hannah Pinski (Opinions and Amplify Editor): There’s talk if this map does pass, Miller-Meeks might move to get out of the third district. It would be a toss-up because Des Moines would still be in this district along with rural Iowa.

Sophie: Multiple Republican candidates, including Iowa Sen. Zach Nunn, are already running in Iowa’s third district. Miller-Meeks could move to the newly created first district, where most of her current constituency resides. Additionally, Miller-Meeks might not want to compete against Axne, the Democratic incumbent in the third district. Axne has held the seat two cycles in a row, despite the district voting for Trump in 2020.

Yassie Buchanan (Opinions Columnist): Very true. Also, it looks like with this map districts one and two lean right. District four will be right with the most significant partisan lean. District three, however, could be competitive.

Shahab: I agree Yassie, I think Republicans would be hard pressed not to vote against the map this time primarily because they have a competitive advantage in all of the districts. The only district where things could get competitive is in the third district.

Sophie: Let’s be clear — all Iowa lawmakers, regardless of partisanship, should vote for this map. Senate Republicans should’ve voted for the first nonpartisan map proposal, and legislators should still vote in favor of the second nonpartisan proposal.

Hannah: I agree. It’s still a nonpartisan map, and if they vote against this and the third map, they would be allowed to amend it which could result in gerrymandering.

Yassie: If they do reject this second nonpartisan map and amend a third map, this could lead to the Iowa Supreme Court having to intervene due to possible lawsuits.

Shahab: Expanding on that, since the Census was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Iowa Supreme Court has the responsibility and authority to oversee the process. If they approve a nonpartisan map, like this current one, then courts will not have to intervene in the redistricting process.

Hannah: By the sound of that, Republicans would be silly to vote against this plan. Even if they attempt to gerrymander the state, it seems like legal barriers could obstruct them.

Shahab: Yeah Hannah, I think you are right in your analysis. As we have somewhat alluded to today, if this current map were to pass, the worst-case scenario for Republicans would probably be they control three seats while Democrats get one. Contrast this with the worst-case scenario of the first map in which Democrats could have possibly netted two seats.

Yassie: I guess we will see when they vote on Oct. 28.

Sophie: Will Republicans roll the dice and vote down the second map? I, for one, would not be surprised if they bank on the third map to first separate Miller-Meeks from Axne, and second gain a stronger partisan advantage.

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.