Republican Speaker of the House Pat Grassley was criticized by Breitbart News on Wednesday for his “soft approach” to redistricting. The article states that Grassley has “come under fire from conservatives” for failing to oppose the Democrat-friendly redistricting plan proposed by Iowa’s Legislative Services Agency.
“Grassley’s soft approach to redistricting is a dramatic contrast to the hardball techniques being used by state legislators in blue states like New York and California,” the article states. “In New York, which will be losing one seat in the House of Representatives after the results of the 2020 Census were released, news reports indicate that Democrats in the New York Assembly and State Senate may try to redraw lines to eliminate as many as five Republicans from the state’s Congressional delegation.”
According to the Quad-City Times, Grassley said considerations of political impact or whether current lawmakers would have to square off against each other shouldn’t influence state legislators’ votes on the maps.
Breitbart News said it sent an email to Speaker Grassley and Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver on Sept. 16. The question:
“Since this map clearly favors Democrats, will the Iowa Legislature reject it and seek a less partisan map?”
Breitbart News has not received an answer two weeks later.
But Grassley did say this to the Quad-City Times:
Grassley was asked what he would say to national Republicans or Iowa Republicans currently in or running for federal office who may not like the first proposal’s new Congressional districts. The proposal would make eastern Iowa’s 1st Congressional District–currently represented by Republican U.S. Rep Ashley Hinson–significantly more Democratic-leaning. Eastern Iowa’s 2nd District would become more Republican…
“To draw a map in this state with the way the population shifts have been made, I don’t think you necessarily have an unfair map by any means for either party necessarily,” Grassley said. “And that really, you should not be passing a map based on purely on political motives. That is not one of the criteria that we’re supposed to follow. I know some people on both sides don’t like parts of it. But really you have to look about the things laid out in the (state law) and what the expectation of the legislature is.”
Breitbart News speculated that Grassley, who it claims has aspirations of running for Governor, may complicate those aspirations if he supports the current maps.
“It’s going to be hard for Pat Grassley to run for governor if his biggest accomplishment is helping Nancy Pelosi keep the majority in the House of Representatives,” a senior GOP strategist who works on numerous Iowa campaigns told Breitbart News. “This would be a complete betrayal to the activists who have worked so hard to turn Iowa red.”
Conservative legislators have already voiced concern about the maps, but with support from nearly all of perhaps all Democrats in the Iowa House, it will not take many Republicans in the chamber to pass the Democrat-preferred map.