Iowa’s five Congressmen are seeking re-election this year and an expert says it’s likely they’ll all win. Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson examines the races in today’s installment of her “Campaign Countdown” series.University of Nebraska professor John Hibbing has written several books about politics and Congressional races and he says only one race in Iowa is considered at all competitive. It’s the rematch pitting democrat incumbent Leonard Boswell of Des Moines against republican challenger Stan Thompson, a Des Moines attorney. Hibbing says only 30 races in the entire country are considered competitve, and he predicts the incumbents will be able to win most of those. Hibbing says “in the old days” there used to be big swings in which one political party would pick up 70 or 80 seats in Congress and seize majority control of Congress. But since political parties now control the process of mapping out Congressional districts in nearly every state, dramatic change isn’t happening these days, according to Hibbing. He says Iowa is unique because Iowa law requires the district maps to be written every 10 years by a non-partisan agency, meaning neither republicans nor demcorats can gerrymander the districts to their own party’s advantage. Hibbing doesn’t expect other states to adopt Iowa’s law. Hibbing says the courts are being more permissive, and allowed the Texas Legislature to re-draw that state’s congressional districts in the middle of a 10 year cycle — after republicans seized control of the Legislature from democrats and wanted to remap district lines in their party’s favor. Hibbing received his doctorate from the University of Iowa in 1980. Hibbing’s latest book is titled “Stealth Democracy” — a book that makes the case that Americans are put off by the debate and compromise that are the hallmarks of politics.
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