Now that Iowa’s political maps for the next decade have been finalized, it’s time to look more closely at the district lines in and near larger metro areas. Although most districts anchored in cities are safe for Democrats, these metros will include quite a few battleground Iowa House and Senate races over the next two election cycles. Several “micropolitan” districts containing mid-sized cities remain competitive as well, and a forthcoming post will cover those maps.
I’ll write more about the political landscape of individual House or Senate districts once lawmakers and other contenders have confirmed their plans for next year. Several incumbent match-ups have already been worked out, and I’m continuing to update this post. (Please send tips on candidate announcements.)
I’ve grouped each Iowa Senate district with the two state House districts it wholly contains.
POLK COUNTY/DES MOINES METRO AREA
Rapid growth in the suburbs of Des Moines created several new House districts and and two new Senate districts. First, a look at the city of Des Moines and older suburban neighborhoods.
Based on an analysis by Iowa Senate Democratic staff, here’s where current state lawmakers live:
Senate district 15: Tony Bisignano (D)
Speaking by phone on October 31, he told Bleeding Heartland he hasn’t decided whether to seek re-election next year.
- House district 29: Brian Meyer (D)
- House district 30: Bruce Hunter (D)
Hunter announced earlier this year that he won’t seek another term in 2022. I anticipate several Democrats will compete in the primary to represent this area.
UPDATE: Megan Srinivas was the first Democrat to declare in House district 30.
Senate district 16: Claire Celsi (D) and Sarah Trone Garriott (D)
Celsi told Bleeding Heartland she plans to seek re-election in this district. “I am not done with my public service, on the contrary I am just getting started. I am looking forward to serving the Iowans in my new district boundaries.” Trone Garriott has not confirmed her plans but wrote in a November 1 newsletter,
Running for State Senate was a way to respond to needs I saw in the community. Public service has never been about what I wanted for myself, or what was easy for me. Therefore, I will not make this decision quickly, and I will not make it alone.
In the coming weeks, I will be actively listening to this community and discerning with my family how I am called to serve in these new circumstances. I will also be taking time to reflect with gratitude, giving thanks for this tremendous opportunity to be of service!
- House district 31: Kristin Sunde (D)
- House district 32: House Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst (D)
Senate district 17: no incumbent
- House district 33: Ruth Ann Gaines (D)
- House district 34: Marti Anderson (D) and Ako Abdul-Samad (D)
Anderson announced earlier this year that she will retire in 2022. UPDATE: Abdul-Samad confirmed on December 19 that he will seek re-election to the House.
UPDATE: Democrat Grace Van Cleave is considering a campaign in Senate district 17.
LATER UPDATE: Van Cleave is likely to be the first declared Democratic candidate in Senate district 17. Alejandro Murguia-Ortiz will run as an independent on a progressive platform.
Senate district 18: Janet Petersen (D)
- House district 35: no incumbent
- House district 36: Jo Oldson (D)
UPDATE: Polk County Democrats chair Sean Bagniewski is running in House district 35.
LATER UPDATE: On December 9, Oldson informed constituents in an email newsletter that she won’t seek re-election in 2022. At least one Democrat (Shannon Henson) is considering this race; Kirsten Anderson has ruled out running here.
Senate district 20: Nate Boulton (D)
- House district 39: Rick Olson (D)
- House district 40: no incumbent
Senate district 22: Brad Zaun (R)
- House district 43: Eddie Andrews (R)
- House district 44: John Forbes (D)
UPDATE: Johnston City Council member Suresh Reddy was the first Democrat to announce in House district 43.
LATER UPDATE: Andrews confirmed on December 9 that he will seek re-election in House district 43. He was seen as a possible candidate in the new House district 46, which includes Grimes.
The Legislative Services Agency created a separate inset for Ankeny area districts.
Senate district 21: Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver (R)
- House district 41: no incumbent
- House district 42: Mike Bousselot (R), Garrett Gobble (R)
Presumably Bousselot or Gobble will move into the open seat, but I have not seen any announcement.
UPDATE: Whitver is apparently afraid about trends in the suburbs. He announced on November 29 that he will move and seek re-election in Senate district 23.
SECOND UPDATE: Bousselot announced on November 30 that he will run in Senate district 21. That resolves the pairing with Gobble.
Marvis Landon announced on December 2 that she will run in House district 41. Her late husband, John Landon, represented part of Ankeny from 2013 until his death this summer.
THIRD UPDATE: Heather Matson announced on December 17 that she will run in House district 42. Matson was unsuccessful in her first Iowa House campaign in 2016, then defeated a GOP incumbent in 2018, then lost narrowly to Gobble in 2020.
The Des Moines metro area extends further into Dallas County than it did a decade ago, and you can see the population growth in the new map. Waukee now anchors the new House district 27, and the Dallas County areas of West Des Moines are part of the new House district 28, along with Van Meter and Adel.
Senate district 14: Senate President Jake Chapman
- House district 27: Kenan Judge (D)
- House district 28: no incumbent
Senate district 23: Zach Nunn (R)
- House district 45: Brian Lohse (R)
- House district 46: no incumbent
Nunn is running for Congress in the third district, setting up what could be a competitive GOP primary for his Senate seat.
UPDATE: A competitive primary seems unlikely now that Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver is moving to Nunn’s district.
LINN COUNTY/CEDAR RAPIDS METRO AREA
The Cedar Rapids metro area will make up three Iowa Senate districts, one solidly Democratic and the others competitive but trending blue in recent years.
Senate district 37: no incumbent
- House district 73: no incumbent
- House district 74: Molly Donahue (D), Eric Gjerde (D)
Donahue announced on October 29 that she’ll run for Senate district 37 next year. Gjerde has not decided whether he will seek re-election to the House or run for the Senate.
Senate district 39: Rob Hogg (D)
Hogg announced in June that he will retire in 2022. Liz Bennett is currently the only declared Democratic candidate for Senate district 39. Breanna Oxley was also campaigning here but recently switched to run for an open seat on the Linn County Board of Supervisors.
- House district 77: Kirsten Running-Marquardt (D)
- House district 78: Liz Bennett (D)
There may be a competitive Democratic primary in House district 78, which will be an open seat. Sami Scheetz has been campaigning for months, and Peggy Stover is seriously considering the race.
Senate district 40: Liz Mathis (D) and Todd Taylor (D)
- House district 79: Tracy Ehlert (D)
- House district 80: Art Staed (D)
Mathis is running for Congress in the new second district. Normally even-numbered state Senate districts wouldn’t be on the ballot in 2022, but since Taylor was elected to a four-year term in 2018, he will need to seek re-election next year, assuming he plans to continue serving in Senate district 40.
UPDATE: Taylor announced on November 16 he’ll seek re-election in 2022.
SCOTT COUNTY/QUAD CITIES AREA
The new map for the Quad Cities is a bit of a scramble.
Senate district 41: Jim Lykam (D) and Roby Smith (R)
Lykam confirmed on October 31 that he plans to seek re-election. Smith has not announced whether he will move (presumably to Senate district 47) or compete against Lykam in this district. Some Republican sources believe Smith is considering a bid for Iowa secretary of state in 2022.
- House district 81: no incumbent
- House district 82: Bobby Kaufmann (R) and Ross Paustian (R)
House district 82 isn’t in the Quad Cities; it combines all of Cedar County with part of Scott County and a small area of Muscatine County.
UPDATE: Smith announced on December 9 that he will run for state treasurer rather than for re-election in 2022. Lykam has not confirmed his plans.
LATER UPDATE: Kerry Gruenhagen, a grain farmer and former president of the Muscatine County Farm Bureau, announced on December 21 that he will run as a Republican in Senate district 41.
JANUARY UPDATE: Lykam announced that he won’t seek re-election in 2022.
Senate district 47: no incumbent
- House district 93: Gary Mohr (R)
- House district 94: Phyllis Thede (D)
Senate district 49: no incumbent
- House district 97: no incumbent
- House district 98: Monica Kurth (D), Cindy Winckler (D)
In telephone interviews on October 31, Kurth and Winckler separately confirmed they’re in conversation about future plans. They won’t be competing against each other in a primary, but it’s not yet clear who may run for the House and who for the Senate.
UPDATE: Winckler announced on November 10 that she will run for Senate district 49, Tom Barton reported for the Quad-City Times. Kurth will seek re-election in House district 98, and Scott County Supervisor Ken Croken is the first declared candidate in House district 97.
JOHNSON COUNTY/IOWA CITY AREA
The COVID-19 pandemic sent tens of thousands of University of Iowa students home in March 2020, reducing the census count for Iowa City and possibly costing Johnson County an extra Iowa House seat for the next decade.
Senate district 43: Senate Minority Leader Zach Wahls (D)
- House district 85: Amy Nielsen (D)
- House district 86: Dave Jacoby (D)
Senate district 45: Joe Bolkcom (D)
- House district 89: Mary Mascher (D)
- House district 90: Christina Bohannan (D)
Bohannan is running for Congress in the new first district. Her House district is among the bluest in the state, so expect a contested Democratic primary.
UPDATE: Bolkcom and Mascher announced in early November that they will not seek re-election. Elinor Levin is the first declared Democratic candidate in House district 89, and Andrew Dunn is the first declared Democratic candidate in House district 90.
LATER UPDATE: Janice Weiner is the first Democrat to announce in Senate district 45.
DECEMBER UPDATE: Dylan Harvey is also running in House district 89, and so is Tony Currin.
JANUARY UPDATE: Adam Zabner became the second declared candidate in House district 90.
Side note: Senate district 46, which includes much of Johnson County outside the Iowa City metro area, could be one of the most competitive Senate races next cycle, if incumbents Kevin Kinney (D) and Dawn Driscoll (R) both seek re-election.
BLACK HAWK COUNTY/WATERLOO-CEDAR FALLS AREA
The Senate districts anchored in Waterloo will remain solidly Democratic, while the one anchored in Cedar Falls pulls in more Republican territory.
Senate district 31: Bill Dotzler (D)
- House district 61: Timi Brown-Powers (D) and Ras Smith (D)
- House district 62: no incumbent
Smith is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor. He can only file for one office next March, so if he stays in that race he won’t be able to seek re-election to the Iowa House.
Senate district 38: Eric Giddens (D)
- House district 75: Bob Kressig (D)
- House district 76: Dave Williams (D)
Giddens was elected to a four-year term in 2020, so won’t be up for re-election until 2024. House district 76 extends further south than is visible on this inset, taking in parts of Black Hawk, Benton, and Tama counties.
WOODBURY COUNTY/SIOUX CITY AREA
The Sioux City area continues to have three House districts, with the two in the north making up one Senate district. The new lines don’t put State Representatives Chris Hall and Steve Hansen in the same district, but flip their districts in a sense. Hall has represented northeast neighborhoods since 2011 but now lives in the west side district. Conversely, Hansen was elected in the district covering northwest neighborhoods but now lives in the district that extends to the east of city limits.
Senate district 1: Jackie Smith (D)
- House district 1: Chris Hall (D)
- House district 2: Steve Hansen (D)
Senate district 7: Jim Carlin (R)
- House district 13: Dennis Bush (R)
- House district 14: Jacob Bossman (R)
Carlin is seeking the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate but gaining no traction. If he stays in that race, he won’t be able to file for re-election to the legislature next March.
Only House district 14 includes part of Sioux City. The other House seat covers heavily Republican areas: most of Woodbury County, all of Monona County, and parts of Cherokee and Plymouth counties.
UPDATE: Bush plans to move to Cherokee to run in the new House district 5, the Storm Lake Pilot-Tribune reported on November 12. The district covers western Buena Vista County, eastern Cherokee County, and all of Osceola and O’Brien counties.
POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY/COUNCIL BLUFFS AREA
The Senate district encompassing Council Bluffs is one of the least changed on the new map. However, the line dividing the city’s state House seats changed somewhat from the current map, on which these districts were numbered 15 and 16.
Senate district 10: Dan Dawson (R)
- House district 19: Brent Siegrist (R) and Jon Jacobsen (R)
- House district 20: Charlie McConkey (D)
In an October 28 telephone interview, Jacobsen said he hadn’t decided his plans for 2022. His current district (covering most of Pottawattamie County) was carved up into several districts. Jacobsen confirmed he plans to run for the new Senate district 8 in 2024. That would set up a competitive GOP primary against current Senator Mark Costello.
STORY COUNTY/AMES AREA
Ames is now a bit too large to be contained within one Iowa Senate district.
Senate district 25: Herman Quirmbach (D)
- House district 49: Beth Wessel-Kroeschell (D)
- House district 50: Ross Wilburn (D)
Wilburn is also the state chair of the Iowa Democratic Party.
As has been the case for the last several decades, the city of Dubuque makes up most of one Iowa Senate district. In an alternate universe where Iowa didn’t have a great nonpartisan redistricting process, Republicans would surely have been tempted to “crack” this city and combine parts of it with more Republican areas to the north, west, and south.
Senate district 36: Pam Jochum (D)
- House district 71: Lindsay James
- House district 72: Chuck Isenhart
Jochum is considering a gubernatorial campaign in 2022. Since she was just re-elected to a four-year term in 2020, she would not have to give up her Senate seat to run for governor.