Redistricting deal nears end, drawing at least 38 incumbent House members into the same districts
At least 38 sitting House members would be forced into a face off with one of their colleagues -- or move out of their current districts -- a record-breaking shakeup in incumbency, if the House Redistricting Committee votes out its maps for the House, Senate and Congress as expected on Friday.
The legislative musical chairs was started when voters approved Amendments 5 and 6, forcing lawmakers to ignore incumbent and political parties and draw districts according to political boundary lines, when possible, and in a way that protects minority voting strength.
The result pits Democrats against Democrats, one Republicans against a Democrat and, most unexpectedly, Republicans against Republicans in the chamber in which a super majority controls that party.
If the House committee passes the three maps as expected, they will then be brought to the House floor on Thursday, sent back to the Senate as early as Friday and then the legislative maps would be sent to the Florida Supreme Court for the required 30-day review.
"We're will neither accelerate or delay them,'' said House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, on Thursday. But, he added, they appeared to be moving at a steady pace to finish soon.
Democratic Leader Ron Saunders of Key West told the Herald/Times his caucus is willing to let them finish up next week and get the issue before the court.
Democratic Leader Ron Saunders of Key West told the Herald/Times his caucus is willing to limit debate and finish up next week in order to get the issue before the court. Diaz Balart, if re-elected, would be the sitting congressman for Rivera, another Miami Republican, and would be the hometown congressman for Democrat U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, according to a Herald/Times analysis.
A proposed amendment, drafted by the House staff and expected to be adopted at Friday's four-hour hearing, also tinkers with the Central Florida of U.S. Reps. Richard Nugent and Cliff Stearns, merging the two Republicans into a single central Florida district, District 7.
U.S. Reps. Sandy Adams and John Mica, both Orlando Republicans, would also live in the proposed District 7, although either of them could seek the more Democrat-heavy seat to the east, District 6. And U.S. Rep. Dan Webster of Ocoee would be represented by the meandering minority majority district held by Democrat Corrine Brown.
The House committee is expected to pass the Senate map with no changes. The Senate map pits no incumbents against each other, so that leaves the most dramatic battle lines drawn for the House. There, amendments proposed by the House redistricting maps to be taken up on Friday will include a House map that pushes 38 incumbents into districts with other legislators and increases the odds of Democrats winning nine to 11 additional seats, according to a Herald/Times analysis.
All the maps appear to be a done deal. Senate Redistricting chairman Don Gaetz told the Herald/Times this week he expected the House to make slight changes to its map and that the Senate "hoped to accept those changes'' in time to get the maps on a fast track to court approval.
The congressional map also includes the newly created Hispanic-opportunity seat based in Central Florida, District 9 and the new Republican-dominated District 3 in North Central Florida, in which state Sen. Steve Oelrich has already announced his candidacy.
The most significant change to the amendment to the House map would shift the districts of Jacksonville Republican Dan Davis, Michael Weinstein and Charles McBurney. Instead of pitting Davis and McBurney against each other, it pits McBurney and Weinstein into the same district. Weinstein told the Jacksonville Times Union he is considering running for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Steve Wise instead. Former Rep. Aaron Bean has already announced his candidacy for that post.
Here are the proposed match-ups by district and member in the House map -- if the amendment is accepted:
D16 – Charles McBurney, R-Jacksonville, and Michael Weinstein, R-Jacksonville,
D 29 – Chris Dorworth, R-Heathrow, and Scott Plakon, R-Longwood
D 40 – Seth McKeel, R-Lakeland and Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland
D 44 – Eric Eisnaugle, R-Orlando, and Geraldine Thompson, D-Windemere
D 51 – Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, and Tom Goodson, R-Rockledge
D 52 – John Tobia, R-Melbourne, and Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne
D 63 – James Grant, R-Tampa, and Shawn Harrison, R-Tampa
D 69 – Larry Ahern, R-St. Petersburg, and Jim Frishe, R-St. Petersburg, and Rick Kriseman, D-St. Petersburg
D 72 – Doug Holder, R-Osprey, and Ray Pilon, R-Sarasota
D 86 – Joe Abruzzo, D-West Palm Beach and Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach
D 91 – Bill Hager, R-Boca Raton and Irv Slosberg, D-Boca Raton
D 99 – Elaine Schwartz, D-Hollywood, and Perry Thurston, D-Plantation
D 100 – Joe Gibbons, D-Hallandale Beach, and Evan Jenne, D-Dania Beach
D 107 – Daphne Campbell, D-Miami, John Patrick Julien, D-Miami Beach, Barbara Watson, D-Miami Gardens
D 110 – Eddy Gonzalez, R-Hialeah, and Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes
D 116 – Jose Felix Diaz, R-Miami, and Ana Rivas Logan, R-Miami
-- Times researcher Darla Cameron contributed to this report