The scrambling has started as politicians begin to campaign in new congressional and legislative districts.
The Iowa House and Senate approved the non-partisan plan for redrawing district lines Thursday and Governor Branstad has said he has heard no “compelling reason” to veto the maps.
Congressman Dave Loebsack, a Democrat from Mount Vernon, quickly announced he would move to Johnson County — the Iowa City area — and run in the new second congressional district. That avoids a face-off against fellow Democrat Bruce Braley of Waterloo in the new first congressional district.
Republican Pat Ward, a state senator from West Des Moines, also announced within an hour of the senate vote on the redistricting plan that she would move, too, rather than face-off against another incumbent senator in 2012.
“I really love what I do in the Iowa Senate and I feel very fortunate to have this job so I do want to continue to serve the people of Iowa in this job,” Ward says. “If that means, relocating, I can relocate.”
Ward currently represents about 60 percent of the new senate district she’s moving into.
Two other House members live in the new district where House Republican Leader Linda Upmeyer currently lives. She may move from her farmhouse near Garner to a home in Clear Lake, a move that would ensure she runs in a new House district where no incumbent lives. Upmeyer, who is 58, has talked with her husband, who is older, about retiring from the farm.
“We would perhaps like to, you know, travel more and do some of those things which not having a great big, huge farm makes it a little easier,” Upmeyer says. “So we’ve talked about maybe a condo or something in our future.”
Upmeyer says she’s spent a lot of time in Clear Lake, as the city is in her current House district.
“We love it there. We love the people. We’ve made lots of friends and there’s always something going on,” Upmeyer says, “so I find myself there a lot of the time anyway.”
Moving is not an option for State Representative Pat Grassley, a Republican from New Hartford who is the grandson of U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley. The younger Grassley, who is a farmer, is thrown into a new district with another farmer, Representative Annette Sweeney of Alden.
“I have no reason to move,” Pat Grassley says. “I mean, I like where I’m at, so the moving question’s a little — I won’t say for anyone else, but for me specifically — is a little bit silly of a question.”
On Thursday morning the Iowa House and Senate quickly endorsed the redistricting plan. Only eight of the 150 legislators voted against it. Representative Mary Ann Hanusa, a Republican from Council Bluffs, was among the “no” votes as residents in her city dislike the new congressional map which puts Council Bluffs in the same district as Des Moines.
“Because obviously Des Moines is so heavily populated and is such a center of the state and so I think they thought if paired in a district with Des Moines they might not have as much representation as they might in another district,” Hanusa says.
Council Bluffs is currently the largest city in Iowa’s fifth congressional district which covers 32 counties, basically the western third of the state. Iowa is losing a congressional district, however, in 2012 and Republican Congressmen Tom Latham of Ames and Steve King of Kiron both live in the new fourth district and would have to run against one another in 2012 if Latham doesn’t move into the new third district to face off against Democratic Congressman Leonard Boswell of Des Moines.