Saturday, April 02, 2011

The Map: Better The Devil You Know

The Map: Better The Devil You Know?

Piecing together the clues, it's starting to feel like this is going to be The Map. No one is standing up and screaming. Instead, they're figuring out who goes where.

The smoking gun comes from this AP article:
House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer, R-Garner, was tossed into a district with two other Republicans lawmakers, but still had kind things to say about the map. She said going through multi-maps would complicate the process.

One clear sign of momentum is that many lawmakers tossed together with other incumbents are beginning to reach accommodation. In Upmeyer's case, one of the potential rivals is retiring and the other laying plans to run for the senate.
The names aren't named but that'd be Henry Rayhons stepping down and Stu Iverson for open Senate District 4. This particular district, House 8, was the one that was supposed to be the deal breaker circa Thursday afternoon.

Here's another one:
Sen. Pat Ward, R-West Des Moines, said she would be willing to sell her house and move elsewhere in the western suburbs if the map were approved. Thursday's map would put Ward with Sen. Matt McCoy, D-Des Moines, in a Democrat-leaning district.
So 48 hours in the plans are starting to go public. But how many of the moves are across the suburban street and how many are century farms?
Two of the Republican incumbents pitted against each other would be Sen. Nancy Boettger, R-Harlan, and Sen. James Seymour, R-Woodbine. Boettger said Friday there’s no way she’d move. “I live on a farm,” she explained.
As you may recall, Seymour got zinged late in the 2008 cycle for a 2002 arrest for soliciting prostitution, and was really lucky to be unopposed. So Boettger gets this one.

Other specifics:
One example of an oddly shaped district involves Sen. Shawn Hamerlinck, whose proposed district barely juts out enough to capture his home and forces him to challenge fellow Republican Sen. James Hahn of Muscatine.

Hamerlinck currently has the only U-shaped district in the state, so he figured the shape would change. But he'd lose two-thirds of his district under Thursday's plan.

"I'm not going to move. I'm not going to build a hut. I'm not going to pitch a tent. I'm going to live with my wife and family," Hamerlinck said.
Prediction here: Hahn retires.

Elsewhere in the Quad Cities area:
Sen. Tod Bowman, D-Maquoketa, was placed in the newly drawn 49th District with Sen. Tom Hancock, D-Dubuque. That leaves a district that includes most of Clinton County, including the city of Clinton, and part of Scott County, including Princeton and LeClaire, without a state senator.
Bowman says he and Hancock will "discuss the situation" if the map passes. Translation: Someone moves.

In Black Hawk County:
The district lines generally shifted east. Rogers and Danielson would see their districts expand into Waterloo. Reps. Bob Kressig, D-Cedar Falls, and Deborah Berry, D-Waterloo, would have their districts become almost entirely urban.

Rep. Anesa Kajtazovic, D-Waterloo, and Sen. Bill Dotzler, D-Waterloo, would also take on more of the rural area of the county and smaller towns like La Porte City, Washburn and Gilbertville.

"It doesn't really change anything for me," said Kajtazovic, a first-term legislator.
Two Sioux City state lawmakers said Thursday a proposed redistricting plan that pits them against one another in the next election is worth considering.

Rep. Jeremy Taylor, a Republican, and Rep. Chris Hall, a Democrat, would be placed in a new House District 13. Both were elected last November, Taylor in District 1 and Hall in District 2.
14 is empty. Someone moves; not knowing my Woodbury precincts I don't know which one.

Here's a bit of bad news:
"I'm happy with my district," said Sen. Kent Sorenson, R-Indianola. "It didn't change."
In Council Bluffs:
However, there will be a new representative if the map becomes official, according to Rep. Mary Ann Hanusa, who represents District 99 in the city. That’s because her district is being joined with the area now served by District 100 Rep. Mark Brandenburg. The new districts would also have new numbers.

Brandenburg’s district, District 15 under the new plan, which currently serves Carter Lake and the western portion of Council Bluffs would expand eastward into the area Hanusa now serves, she said. The new district called for by the proposal, District 16, would start at Harrison Street on the west, continue eastward to Iowa Western Community College and cover the Lake Manawa area on the south.
Hanusa has been known to be, er, flexible about her residence in the past, and ran statewide in 2006 as the last-minute replacement candidate for Secretary of State. And Brandenburg was Mike Gronstal's opponent in 2008. So someone moves or someone runs against the GOP's number one target. (The lines impact Gronstal little; Council Bluffs is like Iowa City, very close to the size of a Senate district.)

There's also the possibility of crossing the rotunda in the opposite direction. Senators have been known to run for open House seats, the way Sandy Greiner did in 2002 when she got tripled up with fellow Republican Dave Miller and Democrat Mark Shearer. Eight years later she would up in the seat anyway.

Burlington Hawkeye sums up the southeast corner nicely: "The proposed state districts would shift slightly but would not dramatically alter the current districts, other than the numbers. Each would see a few precincts lost and a few gained." Click through if you like details. You know you do.

Not much to see in Ames. That covers most of the major metros; couldn't find much on Linn and Dubuque.

What's harder to figure out is the rural dynamic in the land of the small town weeklies. Just looking a county or two away: Greiner protege Jarad Klein has the geographic and political advantage over Betty DeBoef, who moved into the district in 2001 to begin with; she could run in the vacant House 80 or step down.

House Democratic leader Kevin McCarthy: "It seems kind of a wash, with good and bad on both sides."

Republican Senate leader Paul McKinley weighs in,
Iowa’s process is fair and provides the public with a great opportunity to have their say.

Some may even argue that our once-a-decade redistricting is as close as we come to having term limits. Whichever new map will likely mean some lawmakers will retire, some lawmakers will be defeated by the opposing party and some will even face primaries within their own party.

Yet, all of that can be a healthy thing. Sometimes new districts can mean the election of new people which will yield new ideas. That can be something to celebrate.
When you're using base-popular words like "term limits", you're serious about this map. That's the glass half full way of looking it it. Upmeyer looks at the glass half empty and says: "The next map might be something less desirable."

Which puts Upmeyer on the same page as Mike Gronstal: "My caution is if they have concerns it behooves everybody to take a cold, hard look. The second map may not be as good."

And, from the press corps, Kathie Obradovich:
We’re not far enough into the spin cycle to be able to say for sure, but I didn’t hear anything from legislative leaders Thursday that sounded like the first map was doomed. Gronstal opted for a “Deal or No Deal” analogy, noting that either chamber or the governor could say “no deal.” But the next map could be far worse.

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