House Ratings: New Iowa, Louisiana, Arkansas districts added

May 12, 2011 · 12:15 PM EDT

The entire election cycle on the House side is delayed due to redistricting. Without the new congressional maps, potential candidates remain on the sidelines and it’s very difficult to handicap races.

Over the last couple of weeks, Iowa, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma completed new maps. But the end result is just a handful of potentially competitive races.

In Iowa, Congs. Bruce Braley (D) and Dave Loebsack (D) start their reelection races as heavy favorites in the 1st and 2nd districts. The 3rd District starts as a pure toss-up between Cong. Leonard Boswell (D) and Cong. Tom Latham (R). And the 4th District should feature a heavyweight fight between Cong. Steve King (R) and Christie Vilsack (D) but because of the conservative nature of the district, we’re currently rating the race as Lean Republican. See the April 22 issue of the Report for a full breakdown. 

In Louisiana, the most competitive contest will likely take place between two Republican incumbents (Charles Boustany and Jeff Landry) in the new 3rd District. Republicans start as heavy favorites in the 1st (Steve Scalise), 4th (John Fleming), 5th (Rodney Alexander) and 6th (Bill Cassidy) districts while Cong. Cedric Richmond (D) will hold the 2nd District.

In Arkansas, Republicans will try to mount a challenge to veteran Cong. Mike Ross (D) in the 4th District, which got more Republican, even though Democrats drew the map. Republicans don’t have a candidate yet and Ross starts with the advantage.

Democrats could put the 1st (Rick Crawford) and 2nd (Tim Griffin) districts into play, but right now, those look like long-shots in a presidential year until we know which Democrats step up to the plate. The 3rd District in northwest Arkansas is about as safe a Republican seat as there is in the country. See the May 9 issue of the Report for a full breakdown.

In Oklahoma, we expect people to be talking more about football than competitive congressional races.

Legislators in Indiana and Missouri have also finished their maps. We’ll breakdown those races in the next issues of the Report.