Between the Lines: Louisiana Map in Flux While Iowa Lines Seem Solid

Posted April 6, 2011 at 6:24pm

Louisiana: State House Kills Senate-Passed Map

It’s looking increasingly likely that new Congressional district boundaries in northern Louisiana will not be much different.

A map that would have flipped the two vertical districts held by GOP Reps. Rodney Alexander and John Fleming into two horizontal districts failed to pass the state House on Wednesday. The state Senate approved the map with two horizontal districts earlier this week, but the House killed the bill hours after Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal’s spokesman told reporters that the governor would veto any bill that did not have two vertical northern Louisiana districts.

With the clock winding down for the state Legislature to come up with a plan for the state’s six Congressional districts — down from seven — the state Senate will consider a House-backed bill later this week that would keep the 4th and 5th districts relatively intact. That map would also put much of southern Louisiana into one horizontal district, pitting GOP Reps. Charles Boustany and Jeff Landry against each other if both run for re-election in 2012.

Louisiana lawmakers have until the end of the special legislative session Sunday to approve a new map. The Department of Justice must also sign off on the new map to ensure the state is complying with the Voting Rights Act.

Iowa: First Proposed Map Is Gaining Favor

Legislative leaders have signaled their approval for the first Congressional district map released by a nonpartisan commission last week, but Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) is still taking a close look at the four proposed Congressional districts.

Tim Albrecht, a spokesman for Branstad, told Roll Call on Wednesday that the governor had not made a decision yet about whether to sign off on the new Congressional district map proposed last week by the commission. The top Democrat and the top Republican in the Iowa House told the Associated Press earlier this week that they were inclined to support the map.

With Iowa losing one Congressional seat, the commission’s first map pitted incumbents in the same party against each other. GOP Reps. Tom Latham and Steve King are pushed together into the new 4th district in northwestern Iowa, while Democratic Reps. Dave Loebsack and Bruce Braley would reside in the new 1st district in the northeast part of the state. However, Loebsack has already indicated he would likely move to the 2nd district instead of running against his colleague.

The redistricting commission will have three shots to pass a redistricting plan through the state Legislature and get the governor’s signature before the matter is sent to the Iowa Supreme Court.

Mississippi: Bryant Denies Making Comment About Judge

Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant (R) has denied a report by a local political blog that he told his GOP colleagues that 5th Circuit Chief Judge Edith Jones would “take care of” them if the state Legislature could not settle on a plan.

The Cottonmouth blog reported Monday that Bryant, who is also running for governor, told a group of GOP state Senators that they would be fine if redistricting headed to the courts because Gov. Haley Barbour (R) aided Jones with her nomination to the bench.

“If anybody thinks they are going to influence a federal judge, that is a ridiculous notion and that’s why my position was — is — that if you think by whoever was appointed, whoever was president, that’s not going to occur,” Bryant told reporters Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.

State lawmakers in Mississippi are grappling with redrawing the lines for their own legislative districts. Mississippi did not lose any seats during reapportionment, but House district lines will be readjusted to reflect population shifts in the state.

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