Wednesday, June 22, 2011

District of the Day: Senate District 43, House Districts 85 and 86

District of the Day: Senate District 43, House Districts 85 and 86

Senate District 43

Registration: D 22160, R 8289, N 17096, total 47787, D+ 13,871; the most Democratic Senate district in the state,and I live in it.
Incumbent: Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City

Joe Bolkcom went from the Board of Supervisors to the Senate in 1998 and it's been quiet since. Bolkcom's only opposition, primary or general, was an independent in 2006. Joe stays till 2014. Republicans last ran a state senate candidate in the Iowa City based district in 1986.

The district doesn't quite draw itself, as Iowa City is just a little bigger than a Senate district. In the 1990s a piece of the north side was carved out and sent to Bob Dvorsky in Coralville; last decade the excess chunk was on the west side instead. That basic configuration stays, with one more west side precinct taken out of Bolkcom's turf and sent to Dvorsky's. There's also a panhandle to the south; see below.

Within Bolkcom's district, the line splitting Iowa City's two House seats rotates. Instead of an east side seat and a west side and downtown seat, we have a north and south seat and some real estate implications.

House District 85

Registration: D 11967, R 4535, N 9234, total 25888, D+ 7432
Incumbent: Vicki Lensing, D-Iowa City

The line across Iowa City for the most part follows Highway 6, Burlington Street, and Muscatine Avenue, with one deviation south (precinct 19). The area north of the line is the most Democratic House district in the state.

When longtime legislatve legend Minnette Doderer retired in 2000, Lensing won a competitive primary and a less competitive general election. That's the last time she saw any opposition at all. This becomes an entirely Iowa City district for the first time. In 2000 Lensing had University Heights; last decade she had the rural fragments of East Lucas township.

House District 86

Registration: D 10193, R 3754, N 7862, total 21899, D+ 6439
Incumbent: Mary Mascher, D-Iowa City

The University of Iowa campus gets split; under the old map it was almost all in Mary Mascher's district. Mascher won her first term in 1994 and last saw Republican opposition in 1996. There was a self-starter Some Dude independent in 2008.

Mascher had to move back into her district when the map was announced. The one west side precinct that got shifted west to Dave Jacoby's district happened to contain Mascher's house. The new lines more resemble her 1990's district and include her 1990's residence.

And my 2011 residence. 14 years in Iowa City proper and I've never been able to vote for Mary before. My last two addresses have literally been across the street into Lensing's district.

Packing could be the toughest part of the campaign, as the line changes leave this as the third most Democratic seat in the state. In a nod to redistricting consultant Jerry Mandering, the lines drop south to pick up the city of Hills and an empty piece of rural ground; locals, that means the Izaak Walton League area that's being bought out as floodplain.

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