New Maps Have GOP Congressmen on the Move

By: Kenric Ward | Posted: February 6, 2012 3:55 AM
Districts Gale Cartoon
New maps for Florida's congressional districts have candidates scrambling for seats across the Sunshine State.

The decennial game of political musical chairs was amplified by the addition of two districts and the anti-gerrymandering requirements of Fair Districts.

As a result, some incumbents were shifted out of their existing districts. And Republicans, who hold 19 of Florida's 26 congressional seats, were the most affected.

Additional tweaks could be made as the Florida House and Senate negotiate a final map, but here are a few of the moves that appear likely (district numbers follow the House numbering system):

Veteran Rep. John Mica, R-Orlando, faces a choice of staying home and running against freshman Rep. Sandy Adams in CD 7, or moving to a newly drawn CD 6 up the coast, where former U.S. Senate candidate Craig Miller has thrown his hat in the ring. Both Mica and Miller live in Winter Park.

Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Ocala, another longtime congressman from Central Florida, may also be moving north to run in CD 3. Since a new district centered on The Villages retirement community didn't pan out, Stearns got crowded by neighboring Rep. Richard Nugent, R-Spring Hill. State Sen. Steve Oelrich, R-Gainesville, has plans to run in CD 3 as well, but might pull out if Stearns moves in.

Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland, will move west to hold onto a redrawn CD 15. A new map diminishes the presence of Polk County as it splits the district among pieces of four counties.

Rep. Tom Rooney
, R-Tequesta, is heading west to run for the newly created CD 17, a sprawling rural district in south-central Florida. CD 17, one of two new districts, is predominantly Republican. The second-term congressman surrendered his current east coast seat to make way for freshman Rep. Allen West, who will move up from Plantation to make CD 18 his new home.

Adam Hasner dropped his U.S. Senate bid to move back home to contend for West's current district. Republicans figure Hasner, a former Florida House majority leader from Delray Beach, will have a better chance of defending the 22nd Congressional District that turned bluer during reapportionment.

Florida's other new congressional district, the so-called "Latino access" seat, encompasses south Orange County and most of Osceola County. Though a couple of Hispanic Republicans are ramping up a run there, the early favorite in the heavily Democratic CD 9 is a non-Latino -- former Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson.

With Rep. Connie Mack IV, R-Fort Myers, running for U.S. Senate, his strongly Republican CD 19 is up for grabs. Term-limited state Rep. Paige Kreegel, R-Punta Gorda, plans to leave his Charlotte County home and head south for that race.

Not everyone is discommoded by the new maps. Per U.S. Department of Justice requirements, the majority-minority districts held by Reps. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, and Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, retained their minority content and were kept largely intact. Brown's district maintains its tortured snake-like configuration to capture a maximum number of minority voters in northeast Florida.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fort Lauderdale, lost a few Democratic voters in CD 20, but the hyper-partisan congresswoman, who also chairs the Democratic National Committee, remains in what is rated a "safe" Democratic district along Florida's Gold Coast.

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

Comments (6)

Andrew Nappi
8:41AM FEB 6TH 2012
I hope anyone considering the incumbent miscreants will remember their YES vote for NDAA. Of all the people mentioned, only Hastings and Mack did not vote for the military arrest and detention of American citizens. West and Ross have tried to explain it away as harmless,but the very next day after passage on December 14th, Ross co sponsored "H.R. 3676: To amend the detainee provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012..." In short, these creatures KNEW when they voted YES to NDAA there was a problem with the language. They voted YES anyway and then scrambled to cover their butts. STILL, they are saying TODAY, there is nothing in NDAA that removes Bill of Rights protections. Their actions of December 15th make their excuses downright lies.
Allen West issued a challenge to anyone that could prove him wrong and promptly refused to accept same from Krisanne Hall. Jeff Miller refused to engage her in discussion on NDAA and left the room. This weekend, Congressman Dennis Ross stopped replying to both her and Rhode Island state representative Dan Gordon re NDAA when challenged on the language.
Whatever it takes, people should send these oath of office violators packing. Don't get caught up in the lesser of two evils nonsense the establishment befuddles you with, there is no free pass for voting to remove Bill of Rights legal protections. And dont fall for that Allen West military hero crapola either. Benedict Arnold had a great record too before changing sides.
Andrew Nappi
8:56AM FEB 6TH 2012
The fact that one has had a military career and makes pretty patriotic speeches does not mean one cannot vote to remove Bill of Rights protections as a YES vote for NDAA has done. There is no forgiveness for undermining our constitutional protections, not for Lt.Colonels or neigborhood organizers and certainly not for the mulititude of attorneys in congress who voted yes and are telling us we have not lost our 4,5 and 6th amendment rights.
7:56AM FEB 6TH 2012
"the hyper-partisan congresswoman"

You crack me up... I'm glad her district is safe. hahaha

On a serious note, it would be great to see the people in the new districts get together and choose their candidates instead of sitting idly by while candidates from other areas choose them. But alas, that would take effort and I don't see it happening....
7:32AM FEB 6TH 2012
I thought we were to condense districts based on the amendments that were approved by a statewide referendum. Can the Florida Supreme Court allow this mockery of the intent of the amendments to stand?

This redistricting is really exposing the inherent flaw in the system, that is Government is about serving the "Ruling Class" and never about serving the people.
Pat Galbraith
7:48AM FEB 6TH 2012
I didn't vote for those amendments. I thought it just substituted a different system of gerrymandering for the good ol' boy routine. But the maps I've see, where I know physical and political boundaries, acgually look OK. But Disgrict 3 - ho boy!
Pat Galbraith
7:16AM FEB 6TH 2012
District 3 really meets Amendments 5 & 6 criteria - tongue in cheek.

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