Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Plan would give Senate District 12 new look

Under a proposed redistricting plan released this month, a controversial state senator would represent a greater percentage of Pasco residents while avoiding a confrontation with a well-funded east Pasco candidate.

State Sen. Jim Norman's District 12 would pick up the Zephyrhills area and extend several miles west under the proposed map. But it also cuts out the Dade City area, which is currently in the district he won a little more than a year ago. That change would force Trilby egg farmer Wilton Simpson to run for the Senate in another district.

The boundaries face several hurdles before becoming law. Legislators have not yet voted on the plans; they also have not yet been considered by the courts.

The new District 12 would also remove Norman from the north Hillsborough communities of Temple Terrace and New Tampa.

Norman, R-Tampa, said he's "disappointed" with losing a chunk of northern Hillsborough, which he got to know during 18 years on the Hillsborough County Commission.

"To lose an area like that you're so familiar with, it hurts," he said.

In theory, the boundary changes could bode well for Norman's re-election.

Norman worked much of the year under the cloud of a federal investigation. Authorities were looking at a $500,000 loan Norman's wife received from one of his former political benefactors. The loan was used for a waterfront home in Arkansas.

Federal prosecutors announced last month that they found no evidence that Norman broke the law. But the negative publicity surrounding the case could linger longer in Hillsborough than in Pasco, where Norman is less known.

Norman dismissed the theory that voters would take the matter to heart come next election.

"They looked at everything I've done, and I'm just clean as a whistle," he said of federal authorities. "I knew that, or I couldn't have operated. I knew I didn't do anything wrong and I was validated."

The proposed map puts Simpson — currently a constituent of Norman's — in District 11, which includes much of urban west Pasco. Simpson, a first-time candidate with $160,000 in his campaign coffers, would face term-limited Rep. John Legg, R-Port Richey.

Simpson said the map runs counter to a July public hearing in Wesley Chapel, where many residents wanted to either keep Pasco whole in the Senate map or to split the county along the Suncoast Parkway or U.S. 41. He noted that the Senate proposal is far from being final.

"I personally believe that either the Senate or the courts are going to significantly change the way the Senate maps are drawn," Simpson said.

Deborah Cox-Roush, former chairwoman of the Hillsborough GOP, said she thinks more Pasco voters equals a stronger re-election bid for Norman.

"I think Sen. Norman picking up parts of Pasco County is advantageous to him," Roush said. "He's always had great support in Pasco County."

Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, who serves on the redistricting committee, said that didn't factor into how the maps were drawn. His own district would lose Westchase and the airport area to Norman's district.

"I have no idea how Jim Norman did in his election in any part of his district. Nobody knows that kind of stuff," Lat­vala said. "Nobody said anything specifically about taking Temple Terrace from him. … He indicated an interest in continuing to have the southern part of Pasco County. He enjoys the people he represents out there."

Norman said he doesn't think losing Temple Terrace and New Tampa would help him. He said he has been lobbying members of the Senate redistricting committee to get them back.

"I've had some conversations about trying to save those areas, but I've been pushed back," he said.

Reach Jodie Tillman at jtillman@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3374.

Plan would give Senate District 12 new look 12/29/11 [Last modified: Thursday, December 29, 2011 8:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. In Case You Missed It: U.S. sailors missing after Navy destroyer collides with oil tanker; Comedians Dick Gregory, Jerry Lewis pass away

    Blogs

    Weekends are great for unwinding, and maybe even unplugging for a little while. Here's what trended that you might have missed if you weren't on social media the last couple days.

    Dick Gregory in Washington, March 10, 2009. Gregory, the pioneering black satirist who transformed cool humor into a barbed force for civil rights in the 1960s, then veered from his craft for a life devoted to social causes, health regimens and conspiracy theories, died in Washington on Aug. 19, 2017. He was 84.
  2. Video: How to make a pinhole projector if you didn't score eclipse glasses

    Space

    CAPE CANAVERAL — Solar glasses are a must for safe viewing of Monday's total solar eclipse, the first to span coast to U.S. coast in 99 years.

    Follow these simple instructions to make a pinhole projector out of a cereal box. [Photo from video]
  3. Walmart expands grocery delivery service to Tampa

    Retail

    TAMPA — Walmart is expanding its grocery delivery service to Tampa, the company announced Monday. Five locations will offer delivery for online grocery orders.

    Walmart is expanding its grocery delivery to Tampa, the company announced Monday. | [Times file photo]
  4. Lt. Gov. Lopez-Cantera won't run for Congress

    Blogs

    Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera has decided not to run for Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s seat in Congress, though he may seek another office in 2020.

    Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera.
  5. From the food editor: 'MasterChef' winner Shaun O'Neale talks cooking at Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival

    Cooking

    There are certain reliable signs that fall is on the way. Nothing in the weather department, of course, but other markers that usher in the celebratory final months of the year. One of those things is the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, which happens annually in Orlando, seemingly longer and more jam-packed …

    Chicken Wings with Sweet Potato Puree. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.