Friday, May 27, 2011

District of the Day: Senate District 25, House Districts 49 and 50

District of the Day: Senate District 25, House Districts 49 and 50

Two pair makes for a full House, and Senate, in the worst redistricting headache for Republicans.

Senate District 25

Registration: D 9411, R 15497, N 15165, total 40105, R+ 6086
Incumbents: Bill Dix, R-Shell Rock and Rob Bacon, R-Maxwell

UPDATE September 9: Bacon moving to House 48, where he'll have a rematch with Olive.

Bill Dix and Rob Bacon both knocked off Democratic incumbents in 2010, when their districts didn't even border each other. Both live at the very edge of this district. If one backs down, the other holds over in a solidly Republican seat. Neither has a good option to move.

Bacon, who vanquished Landslide Rich Olive, looks like he keeps the larger home turf, the non-Ames part of Story County. The old Bacon district went north and west: Hamilton, Wright, and a little of Webster, all of which he loses. His Maxwell home is maybe a couple miles north of Democrat Dennis Black's swingy district, but that has no overlap with Bacon's old seat which had the same south line. A couple of his old townships overlap with Herman Quirmbach, but that's a good Democratic district.

Dix, who defeated Bill Heckroth, keeps only part of Butler County: Aplington, Parkersburg, New Hartford and his Shell Rock home. He used to go east to Bremer, most of Fayette, and north rural Black Hawk. A lot of that turf to the east is in new Senate 32, now a swingy district held by Democrat Brian Schoenjahn.

Dix gave up his House seat to run Congress in 2006 when Jim Nussle retired, but lost in the primary. Unfortunately for Dix, this area is NOT in Bruce Braley's district; it's in that little easternmost extension of Steve King's.

Bacon and Dix could just duke it out in a primary on relatively neutral ground. Half the district is Hardin and Grundy counties, which neither had before.

House District 49

Registration: D 4999, R 6948, N 7788, total 19755, R+ 1949
Incumbent: Dave Deyoe, R-Nevada

Deyoe was a late starting candidate in 2006, and the only Republican winner in the game of musical chairs that started with Stew Iverson dropping out of his race after being deposed as Senate leader. He won a solid 62% in 2010 against 2006 congressional candidate Selden Spencer (the one the entire Iowa lefty blogosphere kept talking up while ignoring Dave Loebsack).

Deyoe is also the only legislator in the neighborhood who gets lucky in redistricting. This remains a Nevada and rural Story based district, with a couple townships shifting and Story City staying. He sheds southeast Hamilton County and gets the southern half of Hardin, with little impact on the party balance.

House District 50

Registration: D 4412, R 8549, N 7377, total 20350, R+ 4137
Incumbents: Annette Sweeney, R-Alden and Pat Grassley, R-New Hartford.
UPDATE July 7: Both have now announced in this district.

In this corner, a rising star of the legislature. In that corner, a U.S. Senator in waiting. This is one of the two seats, along with the triple-up in House 8, that nearly put the whole Map at risk. And while we have some ideas what could happen in 8, there's no clue yet as to how this one gets worked out.

Since the day Pat Grassley announced for the legislature in 2006, when Bill Dix left to run for Congress, I've been saying The Masterplan is for him to take over for Grandpa in 2016. No one ever denies this. If he comes out of this map alive, he turns the magic Senator age of 30 during the next term, in 2013. He shared the ballot with Grandpa for the first time last year, and no Democrat was up for that challenge.

Sweeney was first elected in 2008. Democrat Tim Hoy had given Polly Granzow a scare in 2006, and Granzow retired. Hoy tried again but Sweeney won by 1000 votes, then scored a two to one win in 2010. Sweeney carried the ball on the no videotaping of farms bill (taking matters into her own hands on one occasion).

The old Sweeney and Grassley districts met at a corner. Grassley had all of Butler, then went east into Bremer to pick up Waverly. Sweeney's old 44th district had all of Hardin (this map has just the north half), then went south to pick up rural Marshall. The 2001 mappers also looped the Wright-Franklin county line around the city of Dows to keep it together. Since precincts can't be divided between legislative districts, and since it was the only part of Franklin in old district 44, the Franklin County part of Dows was the smallest precinct in the state at 40 voters. This cycle, it doesn't seem like there's anything that small.

Whoever stays, or wins, gets a more Republican district than they had before. Grundy County is new to both. Both representatives are farmers, making moving more difficult than, say, buying a house in a different part of West Des Moines or Iowa City.

Grassley has definitively said he's not moving, though that doesn't stop Tyler Mills at Des Moines Free Press from speculating about a move into Waverly-based House 63. It's empty, but Bill Heckroth is on the comeback trail and has already announced.

Sweeney was one of the seven no votes on the map, saying districts were not compact enough and citing the split of Hardin County.

My prediction? Look for Terry Branstad or Bill Northey to offer Sweeney a job sometime around the filing deadline.

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