Oelrich announces he'll seek new GOP congressional seat
Sen. Steve Oelrich, R-Gainesville, made it official Monday and filed paperwork to run for Congress in a new congressional seat in North Central Florida that appears to have emerged in both House and Senate redistricting maps.
Oelrich, a former Alachua County sheriff, had indicated he would run for the open seat last fall and now appears ready to take the plunge. The proposed Republican-leaning district is more solidly Republican in the House version of the map (District 3) than the Senate's version (District 6.) They do that by dividing the City of Gainesville, a Democrat-rich community, into two and linking Democrats to the sprawling multi-county black majority district now held by U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown.
The seat is one of the two new districts Florida receives because of its population growth since the 2000 census. Aware of the desire to retain a Republican majority in Congress, the Republican-led Legislature has divided the districts between the parties, making one a Republican seat in North Central Florida and the other an Hispanic-leaning seat in the Orlando region that state Sen. Gary Siplin, an Orlando Democrat is seeking.
"In Congress, I will ask the tough questions, cast the hard votes, and level with the voters about what is really going on in Washington," Oelrich said in a statement. "Washington politicians have a spending addiction, and it’s time we kick that habit."
More from his statement:
Oelrich’s current State Senate district makes up over 63% of the voters in the new Congressional District, including seven different counties that lie directly in his State Senate seat (FL SD 14). The largest of these seven counties, Alachua County, is where Oelrich lives. He was elected as the first Republican Sheriff in Alachua County since Reconstruction – and was subsequently reelected Sheriff three more times serving 14 years.