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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Redistricting causes political turmoil from coast to coast




For the last year, Broward Democratic Rep. Marty Kiar planned to run for the state Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Nan Rich of Weston.

But when the Senate released its redistricting maps in November, the Davie lawmaker was faced with a choice: run in a district based primarily in Palm Beach County, stay in his safe House district for two more years, or run in an open county commission district.

He chose to stay home and run for county commission. “It’s a nice time to be with my two-and-a-half year old, my new baby and my wife,’’ Kiar said, adding, “I’ve always wanted to serve for local office.”
Kiar is among a growing list of legislators deciding to move to new posts as Florida lawmakers complete their redistricting maps under new rules imposed by two constitutional amendments.

The Republican-dominated House voted 80-39 along party lines Thursday to give preliminary approval to three redistricting maps drawn according to the new anti-gerrymandering standards of the Fair Districts amendments approved by voters.

The amendments prohibit lawmakers — for the first time in Florida history — from drawing the districts with any intent to protect incumbents or political parties and the results have shaken up the political landscape from Tallahassee to Jacksonville and from St. Petersburg to Miami.

The disruption, however, is mostly apparent in the House, where 38 of the chamber’s 120 incumbents are been drawn into districts with another member. The Senate and Congressional maps, by contrast, don’t appear to end the political careers of any incumbents. Story here.

[Last modified: Friday, February 3, 2012 11:02am]


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