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Politics

Hold Onto Your Seat: Redistricting Has John Mica Seeking New Home

January 30, 2012 - 6:00pm

Rep. John Mica is looking for a new political home as a congressional remap chipped off chunks of the veteran lawmaker's Central Florida district.

Mica's choice appears to boil down to the 6th Congressional District, a coastal district extending northward to just below Jacksonville, or the 7th Congressional District, centered largely in Seminole County.

Mica, a Republican, currently lives in CD 7, but Rep. Sandy Adams, R-Orlando, announced on Monday she would run there. The first-term congresswoman resides in the newly formed district, which encompasses about 50 percent of her current constituency.

Meanwhile, Craig Miller has declared his intention to seek the CD 6 seat. It contains about 70 percent of Mica's existing district, while adding a stretch of coastline from Daytona Beach north to Flagler and St. Johns counties.

Miller, like Mica, lives in Winter Park, within the boundaries of the new CD 7. But unlike Mica, Miller says he has longstanding ties to the coastal communities of CD 6.

"We have a vacation residence in Ormond Beach. I've operated and opened restaurants in this district. I grew up on [the] Intracoastal Waterway," said the businessman, who dropped his 2012 U.S. Senate bid to enter the congressional race.

"I am spending 25 percent of my time there now -- and that's before campaigning," Miller told Sunshine State News.

But Miller, who finished a close third in a hard-fought GOP primary against Adams and Karen Diebel in CD 24 two years ago, would face a formidable opponent in Mica.

The chairman of the House Transportation Committee has been in Congress since 1993, won re-election with 69 percent of the vote in 2010, and has more than $900,000 in cash on hand for 2012.

Mica's campaign spokesman, Alan Byrd, said, "Wherever he runs, we're confident he will win."

CD 6 would appear to be the logical choice for Mica, since it incorporates 72 percent of his current district (which, ironically enough, is CD 7 in the old numbering system).

Still, Byrd said Mica is "waiting for [the redistricting] process to conclude" before deciding where to land. And once Mica decides, Byrd predicts, "We will beat anyone who comes in there."

Byrd said Mica was not considering either of the newly drawn congressional seats centered in south Orange-Osceola counties or in The Villages.

As for Adams, she sees CD 7 as a good fit. The new district -- centered in Seminole County and encompassing parts of Orange and Volusia counties -- becomes slightly more Republican than her current CD 24.

Picking up 20 percent of Mica's voters and 15 percent from Rep. Daniel Webster, while surrendering the remainder of Brevard County to Rep. Bill Posey, Adams can keep her district office in Oviedo.

Adams, who previously served four terms as a state representative from Seminole County, ousted Democratic Rep. Suzanne Kosmas in 2010, notching the second largest margin of any congressional challenger in the country.

"For the last 10 years, I have been a strong advocate for the region as a no-nonsense leader and a conservative voice for the district. This has prepared me to continue to represent the people and take their message to Washington, D.C.," Adams said in a statement.

Contact Kenric Ward at kward@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 801-5341.

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