Iowa is considered to have two of the nation’s hottest congressional races. One reason for the competitive nature of the races in Iowa is that the state legislature has a non-partisan agency redraw congressional district lines every 10 years, based on the latest U.S. Census Bureau information. In most other states, the lines are drawn with an eye toward party advantage and keeping incumbents safe.
The National Journal’s latest ranking of the nation’s congressional races where party control is likely to switch after the November election lists Iowa’s first congressional district as the second-most-likely to switch from Republican to Democrat hands. Republican Jim Nussle, Iowa’s current first district congressman, is running for governor this fall, and the district has more Democrat voters than Republican.
Democratic presidential candidates Bill Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry each got more votes from the eastern Iowa voters in that first congressional district than the Republican presidential candidates. The National Journal also considers Democrat Congressman Leonard Boswell as the 13th-most-likely to lose his seat to a Republican. The magazine cites Boswell’s health problems and the strength of his Republican challenger, Jeff Lamberti. Lamberti, a lawyer, currently serves as the Iowa Senate’s Co-President.