"You will have political blood on the floor everywhere. That's what redistricting is. It's a brutal process. It has to follow the numbers but it is also shot through with politics." Political expert and University of Virginia professor, Larry Sabato, is forecasting major tension between Republicans and Democrats ahead of the 2012 congressional races all because of redistricting.
It is a nationwide process but, Iowa is a good example of efforts by Democrats to gain a seat in the 2012 election. Iowa has two Democrats competing against each other in one district and two republican incumbents going head to head in another district. Secretary of Agriculture and former Governor of Iowa Tom Vilsack's wife, Christie Vilsack, is looking to run for one of the seats in which the current incumbent Democrat will be competing. "As the lines have been drawn and just released it turns out that very likely one Republican seat is going to be gone. You are going to end up with two Democrats maybe 3 Democrats and maybe one or two Republicans" said Sabato.
In comparison Republicans in the state of Ohio are making a similar play against the Democrats. The republican governor and Republican state legislature are merging 2 Democratic districts in Cleveland potentially leading to the loss of one Democratic seat, a seat currently held by Democratic Representative Dennis Kucinich.
In an interview Saturday with Fox News, Sabato indicated that for the most part Republicans should be able to maintain the seats gained in the House during 2010, maybe even picking up a few seats. However, in states Democrats control we could see efforts to weaken the support of the Freshmen incumbent.
"If you just look at congressional redistricting, I think generally the republicans are going to be able to defend their new majority pretty well" Sabato remarked. Freshmen incumbents could prove to be potentially vulnerable seats.
Adding to the convoluted process of redistricting, each state has individual procedures for redrawing district maps. Iowa will place the potential redistricting map through a series of 3 public hearings after the State ‘s house and Senate review the maps sometime in mid-April. Once it passes through the hearings, lawmakers in the state legislature will only be able to vote up or down for final passage.