The state of Florida gained two Congressional Districts (2 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives) after the 2010 census. The state goes from 25 Districts to 27. Districts are being redrawn by the GOP within the Florida Congress. Congressman Allen West’s District 22 will reportedly become overwhelmingly Democrat, making him “vulnerable” to a lost election in the coming 2012 elections. Democrats have formed a SuperPAC to defeat West. Rumors are rife that Mitt Romney is behind doing the same. See information about that below.
UPDATE 10pm CDT 1-31-12: Keeping Allen West in the House may look brighter tonight as West has announced he will change districts and run in the newly-configured District 18, which I believe at this moment is portions of District 16 (which will be cut in half under new maps) represented by Republican Tom Rooney. Rooney will move from District 16 to one of Florida’s newly formed Districts, 26 or 27 – or other reports say Rooney will run in newly-drawn District 17. This leaves West’s District 22 without a Republican candidate at this time. The current District 18 is in Southern Florida, but the area West will work to represent is said to be farther north than the existing District 22.
Confusing is that Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros Lethinen now represents District 18 which includes the Florida Keys. Here is the little news I find:
Under a draft congressional map approved Tuesday by the Florida Senate, Monroe County would remain in the district now represented by U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
However, a Florida House of Representatives map inching toward final form would move the Keys to a new District 28, an area now represented by first-term U.S. Rep. David Rivera.
Both houses of the Florida Legislature are controlled by Republicans, a party shared by Rivera and Ros-Lehtinen. Source KeysNet.com, Jan. 21, 2012
We have to ask why we would give a district away? The answer has to be that the GOP will pick up other districts to make up the loss – seemingly two, while possibly giving up CD22 . The other issue is why would a popular much beloved American hero and Representative be targeted, especially when the redistricting seems not to meet the intent of the Florida Constitution, although some in the Florida Congress disputes this.
Perhaps Republicans believe they have an opportunity to be successful running and supporting a moderate Republican, thereby ridding themselves of a pesky Tea-Party-Type Constitutionalist Congressman who has rubbed moderates the wrong way all over Washington, D.C. by threatening their personal power with, of all things, the Constitution.
According to West, of the two new districts, one will be on the west coast and one in the area of Orlando. Some of District 15 will become new District 27, an area now represented by a Republican – but, but…noxious former Congressman Alan Grayson has his eye on CD27. You remember him, and surely know we don’t want him back in Congress – so check out one of his challengers. On the west coast, District 5 (Republican) will be reduced, and Citrus, Sumter, and portions of Lake Counties will become District 26 (remember all of this is unofficial at this time). Since these areas were Republican-leaning before, we assume they will likely remain Republican.
Florida’s District 22 was considered slightly-Republican-leaning in 2010 but was represented by Democrat Ron Klein who went to Congress in January 2007 after winning the seat from a Republican. Then Lt. Col. Allen West won Klein’s seat in 2010 by a 9.4% margin.
Here is some scoop about what the redistricting means, and I should say, some of the ‘scoop’ likely contains opinion:
In the proposed plan, District 22 loses “large portions of northern Palm Beach (Dr. Rich Show – the best in-depth explanation of Florida law and district boundaries I have found).”
The primary problem is that all of the Florida House and Florida Senate proposed maps for Congressional District 22 go through great pains to include western portions of Broward County in the new district while excluding large portions of northern Palm Beach County that would form a natural political and geographical boundary. Congressman West’s district should extend to the Palm Beach county line (a political boundary) or at least the geographical boundary of the Jupiter Inlet, as the existing District 22 almost reaches. It should not include these portions of western Broward County…
What does not make sense is that the 22nd Congressional District includes Plantation and Sunrise but excludes the northern parts of Palm Beach County, which would be a natural political and geographic boundary along the coast for what is mainly a coastal district.It seems that all the proposed maps for Congressional 22 make strenuous efforts to include the cities of Plantation and Sunrise at the southern end of the district yet exclude coastal areas of northern Palm Beach County, which would constitute a natural political and geographic boundary…Even if some effort was made to respect “communities of interest” with the proposed Congressional District 22, it is doubtful that the residents of Plantation and Sunrise have the same interests of those residents along the coast. It is also doubtful that the residents of the northern areas of Palm Beach County, whether Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens or Royal Palm Beach, would have interests vastly different than those residents of the same county to the south of the Seminole Golf Course.
There can be no doubt that the new redistricting rules for Florida are a twisted mess of litigation. Moreover, the language in the Amendments passed does nothing to ensure objective revision of the districts, choosing instead to allow for subjective and irrelevant assessment of congressional districts. Language such as this – “Legislative districts may not be drawn to favor or disfavor an incumbent or political party. Districts shall not be drawn to deny racial or language minorities the equal opportunity to participate in the political process and elect representatives of their choice.” – create a horrible precedent of ambiguity in the decision. “Racial or Language minorities”? After searching extensively through Florida state law, the staff of the Political Watchman hasn’t been able to find any case or place where there is a definition of what a “LANGUAGE MINORITY” exists. Thus the danger that now faces Florida’s redistricting.
By removing the western portions of Broward County and replacing them with northeastern portions of Palm Beach County up to the Jupiter Inlet or Palm Beach county line that are in the existing Congressional District 22, the newly proposed District 22 will meet Florida’s constitutional requirements because it would be a compact coastal district that respects political and geographical boundaries.
“Florida 22 will be one of the most important districts in the country,” Israel said, referring to the district.
“A year ago we had a gale-force wind in front of us and now, a year later, we have a slight breeze behind our backs,” Israel said of Democrats. Redistricting in Florida, which still has some 600,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans, should help the Democratic Party pick up five to seven congressional seats, Israel predicted — perhaps somewhat too optimistically, since critics of the proposed maps note they protect incumbents.
“After last night’s Republican Presidential debate, the candidates’ respective spinmeisters made their cases to the media as to why their guy won the debate. One of Governor Mitt Romney’s spokesmen was Florida Representative Will Weatherford, and during the course of his remarks in the “Spin Room”, he shed a very dim light on the ongoing redistricting process in the Florida Legislature.”
West’s congressional district inexplicably sheds the most Republican electoral support, in comparison to all other incumbent Republican and Democrat Congressman. A few weeks back we quoted an unnamed legislator saying that, “Allen West was screwed”, a statement which was originally made about made five months before the proposed maps were made public, leading insiders to believe that the fix was in against Allen West. But in light of Weatherford’s comment (VIDEO), it is increasingly clear that this is a fait accompli. (Read more-Allen West is Screwed)
According to Weatherford, those preliminary maps will not change- at the most, any additional changes would be minimal, and those changes would not make any appreciable difference from the preliminary maps. In addition, Weatherford stated that a deal was struck between him, Senate President Mike Haridopolos, and Senator Don Gaetz to finalize these maps and push them through as soon as possible. Weatherford also said that the proposed maps are in legal compliance with both the Voting Rights Act and Amendment 6.
So based on Weatherford’s comments, the 22nd Congressional District is now very much in play for the Democrat Party, and West is at an even larger disadvantage than he was previously- it will be a very difficult and expensive seat for Republicans to defend.
So whether Romney and/or his campaign is “maneuvering” West’s removal, we don’t know, but we do know that a Romney spokesman, soon to be Speaker of the Florida Senate, says West is vulnerable, and has said the maps will not change.
Many thanks to Grumpy Opinions for linking! Take a good look at the Tea Pary and the “Party.” Can we become one? Not looking like at this moment in my [Maggie’s] opinion. Again here in Tuesday News – thank you.