Why Miller-Meeks will likely move rather than run in IA-03

There are winners and losers in every redistricting plan. The second set of nonpartisan Iowa maps, which the Legislative Services Agency released on October 21, was much kinder to U.S. Representative Ashley Hinson than the first map, which put Hinson in a Democratic-leaning Congressional district.

Fortunes were reversed for U.S. Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks. The first plan put her in a district that Donald Trump carried by more than 10 points in 2020. Today’s proposal puts most of the territory she now represents in a district Trump carried by about 2 points. She was certified the winner last year against Rita Hart by six votes in a district Trump carried by 4 points.

Even worse, Miller-Meeks’ home in Ottumwa (Wapello County) is part of the proposed third Congressional district, where Trump outpolled Joe Biden by just 0.4 points.

On Iowa social media feeds today, I’ve seen some speculation about how Miller-Meeks might fare against Democratic Representative Cindy Axne, or about Democrat Christina Bohannan being able to run for Congress in an open seat covering most of southeast Iowa.

I wouldn’t spend a lot of time pondering those scenarios.

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Iowa's Plan 2: A status quo Congressional map

Part 8 in Evan Burger’s series on Iowa redistricting.

This morning, Iowa’s nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency (LSA) released their second redistricting proposal on October 21. Here’s a quick analysis of the Congressional map included in Plan 2; Laura Belin will write a companion piece examining the legislative maps later today.

The big takeaway is that this plan strongly resembles Iowa’s current map of U.S. House districts, especially when you look at the ten largest counties. Here is how Plan 2 groups those counties:

  • IA-01: Johnson (Iowa City), Scott (Quad Cities)
  • IA-02: Linn (Cedar Rapids), Black Hawk (Waterloo/Cedar Falls), Dubuque
  • IA-03: Polk (Des Moines area), Dallas (Des Moines suburbs)
  • IA-04: Story (Ames), Woodbury (Sioux City), Pottawattamie (Council Bluffs)

The current map groups those counties the same way, with the exception of Pottawattamie, which moves from the Polk district to the Story district.

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Delayed map didn't hurt Iowa Congressional 3Q fundraising

Candidates running for U.S. House in Iowa raised a surprising amount of money from July through September, given that we have no idea what their districts will look like in 2022.

Follow me after the jump for highlights from the latest quarterly filings to the Federal Election Commission. Notable numbers from Congressional candidates’ fundraising and spending during the first half of 2021 can be found here.

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Outside money returns to IA-03

Bleeding Heartland user Strong Island Hawk reviews some “issue ads” now targeting (or defending) U.S. Representative Cindy Axne.

Welcome to the Age of Dark Money. And that means All Political Ads, All the Time. Iowans know all too well the constant barrage of campaign commercials especially before Election Day or during the primaries. Thanks to long experience with the first-in-the-nation caucuses, Hawkeyes have learned to tune out the relentless stream of political messages, TV, radio and digital ads, phone calls and door knocks, which can start more than a year before the general election. But they’re also used to a respite from the electioneering activity once the election has passed. This year, most Iowans were probably hoping for a break from the noise, especially after a long and bruising 2020 campaign.  

However, the never-ending flow of dark money has made political ads a year-round reality, even in non-election years. And in a hotly contested swing district like Iowa’s third Congressional, voters can scarcely get through an episode of Wheel of Fortune or a morning news broadcast without seeing an attack ad funded by shadowy outside forces. The ads have become almost as ubiquitous as the commercials for sports betting sites. And it’s hard to believe it’s only September of a year ending in “-1” – and not even one before a presidential year. This is before a midterm election. 

One thing is clear: IA-03 is already a major electoral battleground gaining national attention. And the money is pouring in. 

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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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