DES MOINES, Iowa – During a press call last Friday, U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, responded to the first legislative redistricting map released by the Legislative Services Agency.
Hinson represents Iowa’s 1st Congressional District.
The proposed new boundaries make the congressional district the smallest in terms of geography. It currently has 20 counties, but the proposed map only has 12. Only Linn and Jones counties remain from the current district county make-up. It has a population of 797,655 people.
Currently, this district has 161,398 registered Democrats and 147,154 registered Republicans giving Democrats an advantage of 14,244 registered voters. Under the proposed map, the district has 180,189 registered Democrat voters and 133,319 registered Republican voters, giving Democrats a 46,897 registered voter advantage.
This first map puts Hinson at a significant disadvantage with the gap in registered voters. It also presents a challenge being practically a new district having only two counties she campaigned in and represented before.
She did not want to weigh in on whether the Iowa Legislature should approve the first map or send the Legislative Services Agency back to the drawing board.
“I’m not actually involved in that redistricting process, and the legislature is going to do their job. I’m focused on serving my district, not drawing it. And I’ve been completely focused on doing the job Iowans elected me to do. When that map came out (Thursday), I was in the middle of a town hall. So I just completed my third 20 County tour,” Hinson said, responding to a question from Kate Payne with Iowa Public Radio.
“I’m continuing to hear from Iowans and they’re focused on the issues that they’re talking about around their kitchen tables: excessive government spending, potential tax increases, skyrocketing inflation, not partisan decisions happening on maps, so I’m focused on what Iowans are telling me that they want me to work on in Washington D.C,” she added.
Following up, Adam Carros of KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids asked if she felt the first map resulted from a partisan process since she called decisions about the maps “partisan.”
“Well, I mean, both caucuses are putting out statements. I think that’s more what I was inferring. You know, you saw both leadership on both sides put out statements yesterday. So legislators are going to do their job as they look at those maps. And you know, Republicans and Democrats both have a job to do in vetting those maps,” Hinson answered.
Carros then asked what she thought this newly drawn district might mean for her re-election.
“I’m not going to get into hypotheticals as the process plays out, because again, that’s the legislators’ job to figure that all out with maps, and I’m focused on the 20 counties that I represent today,” Hinson said.
With this first plan, the Iowa Legislature can only make corrective amendments, so minor tweaks, and then they have to vote the entire redistricting plan up or down. If they vote against the first plan, LSA will submit a second plan prepared, following the reasons the first plan was disapproved, within 35 days of the first plan being disapproved.
The Temporary Redistricting Advisory Commission held three virtual public hearings earlier this week, and that feedback will be provided to lawmakers in a report. The Iowa Legislature’s special session starts on October 5.