Iowa Dem says he wants to avoid redistricting primary fight

Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) says he's willing to move ahead of 2012 in order to avoid a primary match-up with fellow Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley should new congressional district lines proposed Thursday be approved by state lawmakers.

A map put forth by Iowa's nonpartisan redistricting commission would pit two sets of incumbents against one another in 2012. Loebsack and Braley would be forced into the same district, as would Republican Reps. Steve King and Tom Latham.

The new map makes Loebsack's 2nd district an open seat, but the Democrat said if the map wins approval, he'd shift and run in the 2nd district again, rather than run against Braley.

"Given my past, my experience, what I think I've done for the southeast part of the state, my intent is to represent those people," Loebsack told the Quad City Times on Thursday.

King, meanwhile, was cautious Thursday in discussing the possibilities after the map emerged, insisting that he's not coming up with any 2012 contingencies unless it becomes clear state lawmakers might approve the plan.

"It doesn't pay for me to plan a contingency until I get a reading as to whether or not this might pass," King told The Ballot Box. "Until then, if I comment on what I might do, I'm commenting on a hypothetical that can only cause trouble."

Ten years ago, state lawmakers rejected the first redistricting map put forth, and they could do the same this time around. But, according to the Des Moines Register, there's no early sign that this map is dead on arrival. Many lawmakers fear that if they reject this one, a second map could be even worse for state lawmakers.  

If the legislature rejects the map, the state's redistricting commission has a little over a month to come up with a second map. Republican Gov. Terry Branstad also has veto power over any redistricting plan.