Thursday, April 14, 2011

Map Passes House 91-7, Senate 48-1

Map Passes House 91-7, Senate 48-1

UPDATE: Rep. Jeff Kaufmann responds. See below.

Let's look at the naysayers, all Republicans:

The lone no in the Senate is Sandy Greiner, who inherits a much bigger chunk of the People's Republic of Johnson County. Half her district, in fact: the new open House District 77.

Another Republican who doesn't want more of Johnson is a member of House leadership, Jeff Kaufmann. He loses most of northern Muscatine County. That turns a break-even district into a Democratic leaner. (He's also in the Senate district of Muscatine's Jim Hahn, who gets screwed in a pair with Shawn Hamerlinck of the QC. Hahn said he'd vote no, but in the end didn't.)

The most informative no vote is Annette Sweeney. She got paired with Grandson Grassley, and in a Senate district that's also a Republican pair (Rob Bacon-Bill Dix). Her nay is an indicator that she's the odd one out.

First termers Mark Brandenburg and Mary Ann Hanusa of Council Bluffs got paired in new 16. New 15, in the northwest corner of the city (plus that great geopolitical quirk, Carter Lake) is empty, but it has a solid Democratic registration edge. Brandenburg ran against Mike Gronstal in 2008, so maybe that's an exit strategy for one or the other. They could also be unhappy that the deep red parts of eastern PottCo get wasted in Hubert Houser's turf instead of being a weapon to take down Gronstal.

Royd Chambers got paired with Dan Huseman in deep-red new district 3. Nearby district 2 is empty, but it's not as solidly Republican and not a natural geographic fit. My bet is this is a retirement.

Renee Schulte of Cedar Rapids won a squeaker in 2008. Her old district was fair fight turf, the new seat leans Democratic.

And one just doesn't make sense. Clel Baudler is not paired and his new district leans just a little bit less Republican than the old one. Maybe his clerk pushed the wrong button.

UPDATE: Jeff Kaufmann wrote to me this evening; since he took the time to offer his reasons for voting no I'll share them with you. I'll extend the same courtesy to others if asked. I added the link to the Gazette article he references. Rep. Kaufmann's remarks:


It would have been nice for you to ask me about my NO vote. It had nothing to do with my new House seat. My seat has always been Democratic-leaning and was actually almost 1200 plus Democrats a few years ago. In fact since it is rural Johnson County it is only about a 500 vote difference than my current district even after the 2010 election. Actually a new map could have been much worse for me in party registration (more of the heavily Democratic Iowa City proper or a loss of Wilton where I have tallied 70-80% even in heavily contested elections).

My NO vote had to do with the new Senate District and my constituents, both Democratic and Republican, wanting uniformity in their Senate District instead of a rural county attached to an urban area. My NO vote reflected the desire to have a conversation about uniformity within Senate Districts, something I have talked about for years.

The Gazette did ask me and they have a story that also discusses the partisan and utterly incorrect assessment of my vote by a press release issued by none other than the State Democratic party.

Thanks John. I do appreciate your analysis in the past but this time I wished you would have asked me about my reasons.

The amount of time and hours of constituent work I do in Johnson County every week, I think, is a testament that I am proud of my Johnson County connection and will continue to be proud. Remember I lived in Iowa City for over 2 years and have three degrees from the University. Frankly, I am happy I still represent parts of the county.

Jeff Kaufmann

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