UPDATE from desmoinesdem: Click here for further discussion about where this map came from and why it appeared on this site.
At Daily Kos, I've been posting a series of diaries taking an early look at redistricting after the 2010 Census in each state. Today I posted a diary mapping possible scenarios in Iowa and Ohio, and was encouraged to post the Iowa portion here.
Read my proposal for Iowa below the fold…
The redistricting process in Iowa should be among the least contentious in the nation, with an independent commission redrawing the lines. Of course, Iowa is expected to lose a seat in reapportionment, bringing its total down to four (for a Midwestern state that once had 11 districts, it is quite a sobering development to now be on par with Nevada, Utah, and Kansas in population). Mapmakers last had to eliminate a seat after the 1990 Census, and back then they opted to pit freshman Republican Rep. Jim Nussle against Democratic Rep. Dave Nagle in a competitive eastern Iowa district. It is widely assumed that their solution this round will be a race between Dem Leonard Boswell of Des Moines and Republican Tom Latham of Ames, and my map reflects that conventional wisdom. The new 3rd District, home to both incumbents, would likely have voted for Obama by a respectable, if modest, margin, but in a race between two entrenched incumbents would be a tossup. Given Latham's proven ability to win easily in a slightly Dem-leaning district, he might even be favored against Boswell, who has had some close calls in the past and will be 78 years old in 2012.
As for the other three incumbents, they should be relatively comfortable. Note that all 99 counties are kept whole, as the commission has long strived to avoid county-splitting.
District 1 – Bruce Braley (D-Waterloo) — district expands in area but stays Democratic-leaning, as would any northeastern Iowa seat.
District 2 – Dave Loebsack (D-Mount Vernon) — but this district still stays an inch more Democratic.
District 3 – Leonard Boswell (D-Des Moines) vs. Tom Latham (R-Ames) — competitive seat, probably voted for Obama by a 7-to-10-point margin, but would be a tossup in most election years. Both Reps. retain their geographical base, but Latham probably has a stronger record of winning over tough territory.
District 4 – Steve King (R-Kiron) — stays the most Republican district, by far.
Iowa was probably the easiest state I've yet tinkered with, as counties were kept whole and the independent commission system means that I was able to suspend political considerations to some degree. I really think the final map will not look radically different than the above.