Iowa’s nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency released its first proposed redistricting map on Thursday morning, and it favors Democrats. Iowa lost a district in reapportionment, and the slowest population growth was in the state's conservative west. Reflecting that population shift, the map places firebrand conservative Republican Rep. Steve King in the same district as GOP Rep. Tom Latham, an appropriator with ties to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. The map creates two Democratic-leaning districts in the east. The third, based in Des Moines, also leans slightly Democratic. The 4th CD could also be competitive, especially if the polarizing King should emerge from a primary against Latham and Democrats can persuade popular former Iowa first lady Christie Vilsack, who’s considering a congressional bid, to run there instead of in the Des Moines-based 3rd CD.
The plan’s chances for becoming reality are problematic: The Legislative Services Agency’s map needs the approval of Iowa's Legislature, where control is split between Democrats and Republicans, and Republican Gov. Terry Branstad. Democrats are likely to back the plan: their three congressmen, Reps. Bruce Braley, Leonard Boswell, and Dave Loebsack, would all have districts to run from (only Loebsack would have to move, and his home is just miles north of the edge of the proposed new 2nd District). Republicans will certainly take a dimmer view of a map that pits two GOP House members against each other and creates no safely Republican districts.
Correction: An earlier version of this graphic mislabeled proposed districts.