A- A+

Iowa Legislative Redistricting Update

Iowa Redistricting in 2021

November 8, 2021

On Aug. 12, 2021, the U.S. Census Bureau delivered the 2020 census data to state governments after a nearly five-month delay. With the delivery of the census data, the Iowa Legislature and Legislative Services Agency (LSA) began the legislative redistricting process. Iowa has a constitutional deadline of Sept. 15 to enact new maps. Due to the delay in receiving the data, the Legislature did not anticipate they would meet the deadline. In response, the Iowa Supreme Court stated they would not exercise their authority over the redistricting process; instead, the Legislature was given a new deadline of Wednesday, Dec. 1.

Redistricting Process in Iowa

Iowa’s nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency prepares the proposed redistricting plans. LSA utilizes a computer program that draws proposed congressional and legislative districts within the guidelines of Iowa’s constitution. Lawmakers cannot amend the first proposed map, only approve or reject the plan; if rejected, LSA prepares a second proposed plan and follows the same process. If the second proposed plan is rejected, a third and final plan is presented that lawmakers can amend.

Iowa has long been praised for its redistricting process that limits the potential for gerrymandering. Iowa Code Chapter 42 prohibits lawmakers from voting to approve or reject a proposed plan for political reasons; they must only consider the compactness and contiguousness of districts and population deviation.

History of the Current Redistricting Process

The current redistricting process was put into place during the 1980 legislative session. Since then, the Iowa Legislature has only gone to the third map once, in 1981.

  • 1981 – First and second redistricting plan rejected, third redistricting plan enacted
  • 1991 – First redistricting plan enacted
  • 2001 – First redistricting plan rejected, second redistricting plan enacted
  • 2011 – First redistricting plan enacted
  • 2021 – First redistricting plan rejected, second redistricting plan enacted

2021 Redistricting Plan

Governor Kim Reynolds called the Legislature back for a Special Session to vote on redistricting on Oct. 5. The Senate took up Senate File 620 and voted along party lines, 32-18, to reject the proposed plan. Senate Republicans cited concerns regarding the population deviation and compactness of various Senate and House districts. Following the vote, LSA released a second proposed plan two weeks later. The Legislature reconvened on Oct. 28. Following brief debates, the second proposed plan passed with bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.

“After review of the second redistricting plan, I believe it corrects the failures of Plan One to redistrict the state in a compact manner with minimal differences in population,” Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver (R- Ankeny) said in a statement. “Despite years of fear-mongering about gerrymandering and claims the first map could not be improved, the Iowa Senate followed the process outlined in Iowa Code, and a more compact map with better population differences has been approved.”

The adopted plan impacts 58 incumbent lawmakers, creating 11 open seats in the Senate and 21 in the House. Additionally, Iowa’s incumbent Congresswomen in the 2nd and 3rd Districts, Representatives Cindy Axne (D – West Des Moines) and Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R – Ottumwa), reside in the new created 3rd District. If both incumbents choose to run for re-election in the new 3rd District, Iowa’s newly 1st District will have an open seat. However, Representative Miller-Meeks currently represents the majority of the new 1st District and could move to run for re-election there. Representative Miller-Meeks is expected to announce her re-election plans later this month. Representative Axne and her staff stated that Representative Axne is still deciding between running for re-election or joining the race for Governor.

State Legislators, particularly those grouped into a new district with another incumbent, have begun to announce their intentions for 2022. Many members of the House are considering running for open Senate seats while other incumbents have announced retirements, re-election campaigns for their current seats or intentions to move. A summary of the impacted state legislators can be found below.

 null Impacted Incumbents
SD4: Jesse Green (R)/Tim Kraayenbrink (R)
SD6: Craig Williams (R)/Jason Schultz (R)
SD 16: Claire Celsi (D)/Sarah Trone Garriott (D)
SD30: Amanda Ragan (D)/Waylon Brown (R)
SD34: Craig Johnson (R)/Dan Zumbach (R)
SD40: Todd Taylor (D)/Liz Mathis (D)
SD41: Jim Lykam (D)/Roby Smith (R)
SD44: Ken Rozenboom (R)/Adrian Dickey (R)
SD46: Dawn Driscoll (R)/Kevin Kinney (D)
SD50: Jeff Reichman (R)/Tim Goodwin (R)
 null Impacted Incumbents
HD3: Skyler Wheeler (R), Thomas Jeneary (R)
HD6: Megan Jones (R), Gary Worthan (R)
HD19: Jon Jacobsen (R), Brent Siegrist (R)
HD21: Brooke Boden (R), Jon Thorup (R)
HD23: Carter Nordman (R), Ray Sorensen (R), Stan Gustafson (R)
HD34: Marti Anderson (D), Ako Abdul-Samad (D)
HD42: Mike Bousselot (R), Garrett Gobble (R)
HD48 Rob Bacon (R), Phil Thompson (R)
HD53: David Maxwell (R), Dean Fisher (R)
HD61: Timi Brown-Powers (D), Ras Smith (D)
HD66: Steven Bradley (R), Lee Hein (R)
HD68: Sandy Salmon (R), Chad Ingels (R)
HD74: Eric Gjerde (D), Molly Donahue (D)
HD82: Ross Paustian (R), Bobby Kaufmann (R)
HD87: Jeff Shipley (R), Joe Mitchell (R)
HD88: Holly Brink (R), Dustin Hite (R)
HD95: Mark Cisneros (R), Dennis Cohoon (D), David Kerr (R)
HD98: Monica Kuth (D), Cindy Winkler (D)


Click on the map above to see the full-size image.

The Partnership's Public Policy team engages with local, state and federal officials to create public policy that generates economic growth, business prosperity and talent development in Greater Des Moines (DSM). The Partnership is a nonpartisan organization.

Casey Nickel

Casey Nickel is the legislative coordinator at the Nyemaster Goode law firm. Before joining Nyemaster Goode, Casey worked for Iowa State Senator Amy Sinclair, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst and the Ames Chamber of Commerce.