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Iowa's 10th congressional district

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Iowa's 10th congressional district existed from 1883 to 1933, when Iowa sent eleven congressmen to the United States House of Representatives. The district, known as "The Big Tenth,"[1] covered large areas of north-central Iowa.


From 1883 to 1886, the district included the north-central Iowa counties of Worth, Cerro Gordo, Franklin, Hardin, Story, Wright, Hamilton, Humboldt, Hancock, Kossuth, Winnebago, Webster, and Boone.[2] Reapportionment in 1886 reflected the increasing population balance between eastern and western Iowa, resulting in a westward shift of the district's boundaries.[3] From 1886 until 1933, the district was made up of Boone, Calhoun, Carroll, Crawford, Emmet, Greene, Hamilton, Humboldt, Kossuth, Palo Alto, Pocahontas, Winnebago, and Webster counties.[3] After 1886, the boundaries of the district never changed;[4] the Iowa General Assembly refused to reapportion its districts until the loss of two seats following the 1930 census left the State with no other choice.

Demographics and underrepresentation

The district was predominantly rural, especially in its 1886 reconfiguration. During that period, it included only one of Iowa's twenty largest cities — Fort Dodge — and included counties that had been relatively slow to settle. However, by 1895 the large area of the 10th District, coupled with increased migration to its small towns, caused it to have the largest population of any of Iowa's congressional districts.[5] By 1890, the continued disproportionate increase in the population of the 10th and 11th Districts caused some to predict that the General Assembly would need to reduce the area of each district,[5] but no such change occurred. By 1921, the 10th District had over 100,000 more residents than the 1st District, and nearly 60,000 more than the population of an ideally-sized Iowa congressional district.[6]

Voting patterns

Every congressman elected from this district was a member of the Republican Party. As a general matter, the most influential event during each election year was not the November general election, but the Republican Party's district nominating convention (or later, the Republican primary). Two 10th district congressmen (Jonathan P. Dolliver and L. J. Dickinson) became well-known members of the U.S. Senate and sought national office.

After dissolution

Under the nine-district plan adopted by the Iowa General Assembly in 1931, the boundaries of the old 10th district were preserved as the new 8th district.[7] The last congressman elected by the old 10th district, Fred C. Gilchrist, was elected in the new 8th district in 1932. Ten years later, when the 1940 census caused Iowa to lose another seat, the new 6th district included all of the old 10th district's counties, plus Wright County. It was only after that district elected a Democrat (Merwin Coad from Boone County) and Iowa lost a seat due to the 1960 census that the Iowa General Assembly broke up the old 10th district's counties, dividing them among four districts.[8]

List of members representing the district

(District Residence (County))
Party Term Cong
Electoral history
District created March 4, 1883
Adoniram J. Holmes (Iowa Congressman).jpg

Adoniram J. Holmes
Republican March 4, 1883 – March 3, 1889 48th
Elected in 1882.
Re-elected in 1884.
Re-elected in 1886.
Lost renomination.
Jonathan P. Dolliver - History of Iowa.jpg

Jonathan P. Dolliver
Republican March 4, 1889 – August 22, 1900 51st
Elected in 1888.
Re-elected in 1890.
Re-elected in 1892.
Re-elected in 1894.
Re-elected in 1896.
Re-elected in 1898.
Resigned after being appointed to the U.S. Senate.
Vacant 56th
James P. Conner (Iowa Congressman).jpg

James P. Conner
Republican December 4, 1900 – March 3, 1909 56th
Elected in 1900.
Re-elected in 1902.
Re-elected in 1904.
Re-elected in 1906.
Lost renomination.

Frank P. Woods
Republican March 4, 1909 – March 3, 1919 61st
Elected in 1908.
Re-elected in 1910.
Re-elected in 1912.
Re-elected in 1914.
Re-elected in 1916.
Lost renomination.

Lester J. Dickinson
Republican March 4, 1919 – March 3, 1931 66th
Elected in 1918.
Re-elected in 1920.
Re-elected in 1922.
Re-elected in 1924.
Re-elected in 1926.
Re-elected in 1928.
Retired to run for U.S. senator.

Fred C. Gilchrist
Republican March 4, 1931 – March 3, 1933 72nd Elected in 1930.
Redistricted to the 8th district.
District eliminated March 4, 1933

See also


  1. ^ "The 'Big Tenth,'" Emmet County Republican, 1897-05-27 at p. 9 (reprinted from the Jefferson Souvenir); "The State Ticket," Carroll Daily Sentinel, 1892-08-22 at p. 1.
  2. ^ "Congressional Map of the State of Iowa - Official Census 1885" (Iowa Official Register 1886 Archived 2006-05-19 at the Wayback Machine at pp. 12-13).
  3. ^ a b "The Congressional Districts," Waterloo Courier, 1886-04-14.
  4. ^ Iowa Official Register 1929-30 Archived 2013-11-12 at the Wayback Machine at p. 3.
  5. ^ a b "Redistricting in Iowa," Dubuque Sunday Herald, 1900-11-04 at p. 11.
  6. ^ Editorial, "A Brilliant Idea," Waterloo Evening Courier, 1921-01-26 at 6.
  7. ^ Iowa Official Register 1933-34 Archived 2011-07-25 at the Wayback Machine at p. 6.
  8. ^ Editorial, "Another redrawing," Ames Daily Tribune, 1970-07-07 at p. 4 (depicting the 1941 and 1961 district maps).
  • Martis, Kenneth C. (1989). The Historical Atlas of Political Parties in the United States Congress. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.
  • Martis, Kenneth C. (1982). The Historical Atlas of United States Congressional Districts. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.
  • Congressional Biographical Directory of the United States 1774–present
This page was last edited on 26 February 2021, at 11:03
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