Redistricting part 7: LSA produces a very fair map

Evan Burger continues his series on redistricting with analysis of the newly released proposed congressional map.

This morning, the Legislative Services Agency released their first set of proposed maps, which can be found here. As expected, the LSA released both congressional and legislative maps — for today I’ll focus on the former, with more analysis to come on the legislative front.

By the numbers

As I’ve written here before, the three standards that the LSA considers in producing a map are contiguity, population equality, and compactness. Of the three, contiguity is an absolute standard: a congressional district must be made up of whole counties that are contiguous. The next most important standard is population equality, meaning the LSA tries to make districts as close in population as possible. However, they must also consider the compactness of a given map, both in terms of minimizing the difference between the length and width of each district, and in terms of minimizing the total perimeter length of all districts.

The LSA’s proposed congressional map easily meets the contiguity requirement. Here is how it scores on population equality and the two measures of compactness:

  • Lowest Population: District 2 (797,556)
  • Highest Population: District 1 (797,655)
  • Difference between lowest and highest population: 99
  • Total Perimeter Score: 2,772.02 miles
  • Average Length-Width Compactness: 34.96 miles

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Redistricting scenarios part 6: Possible districts, revisited

Evan Burger continues his series on redistricting with analysis of some of the reddest and bluest possible Congressional districts.

On August 12, the Census Bureau released the “PL 94-171 Redistricting Data File” – the official population counts of every precinct, city, county, and state in the country, as of April 1, 2020.

As I wrote last weekend, Iowa’s redistricting process can now start in earnest – and members of the public can get a clearer view of what districts are possible. For today, I’ll focus on the implications for Iowa’s Congressional maps. Future articles will contain similar analysis at the legislative level.

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Iowa redistricting predictions, part 5: Data almost here!

Evan Burger continues his series of posts on Iowa redistricting scenarios.

Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau announced some exciting news: they will release the next round of redistricting data this Thursday, August 12, four days earlier than promised. 

At long last, Iowa will have the population counts needed to start drawing new district lines – and just in time, considering that the Iowa Constitution requires the legislature to finish redistricting by September 15. 

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Iowans in Congress report big 2Q fundraising numbers

Candidates for federal offices are raising more money than ever, and that trend was noticeable in the second-quarter Federal Election Commission filings for Iowa’s four U.S. House incumbents. Most of them reported fundraising numbers that would have attracted national attention just a few cycles ago. Many large donors live outside Iowa, a sign that national committees are driving contributions to candidates perceived to be in competitive districts.

The cash on hand totals may seem daunting for challengers who recently launched their campaigns or are still considering it. On the other hand, war chests are less important than they used to be, given the massive growth in outside spending on battleground U.S. House races. A fundraising advantage for an incumbent in 2021 may not be a major factor by next summer.

With that caveat, let’s review where things stand for the three Republicans and one Democrat who represent Iowa in the lower chamber of Congress.

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