Aug. 10, 2015 — Prior to the opening of the special state legislative session convened to re-draw the Florida congressional map, Sunshine State legislative leaders released their initial plan late last week. It is likely that his map will not pass in its current form, but it does provide a good starting point.
The plan radically changes four districts and makes several more competitive, but allows the GOP a chance at maintaining its 17-10 delegation majority.
Three districts are designed to change hands. What the state Supreme Court isolated as the focal point for declaring eight of the 27 districts as legally non-conforming, Tampa Bay’s District 13 — Rep. David Jolly (R) — would become decidedly more Democratic according to the 2012 presidential election result. The addition of St. Petersburg to this seat, as directed by the court, represents a Democratic voter increase of 9.2 percent based upon the previous configuration. With incumbent Jolly now in the Senate race, FL-13 becomes a prime conversion opportunity for Democrats most likely in the person of former Gov. Charlie Crist.
Aug. 3, 2015 — Three House members who had been very public about considering US Senate bids in their respective states, yesterday announced their decisions not to pursue a statewide campaign.
In what is becoming the most unpredictable of all Senate races, another surprise occurred in Florida. Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Pensacola), who had been hiring staff, beginning to raise money, and even assembling an initial campaign schedule suddenly reversed course and will not join the growing field of Republican candidates.
Gainesville Rep. Ted Yoho (R), potentially a victim of the mid-decade, court-ordered congressional redistricting process, also reached the same conclusion about his own prospective Senate campaign. So did California Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles).
July 27, 2015 — The Florida Supreme Court’s order of a partial re-draw of eight congressional districts has turned the Sunshine State’s politics upside down. With one House member already jumping to the Senate race because he will get an unfavorable draw in his Pinellas County district, another representative may be looking to soon follow suit.
Last week, it was reported that freshman Rep. Gwen Graham (D-Tallahassee) is confirming that she, too, is considering entering the open Senate campaign.
In its decision, the state Supreme Court took the highly unusual action of actually stating how the 5th District — that of Jacksonville Rep. Corinne Brown (D) — should be drawn. Currently, the controversial district encompasses a portion of Duval County (Jacksonville), travels southwest to annex part of Gainesville, and then meanders further south to capture African-American precincts in the city of Sanford before moving into Orlando. The configuration has withstood several challenges under the Voting Rights Act over the past two decades, which is why it remains, but the state high court ruled two weeks ago that it did not meet the proper redistricting criteria under the 2010 voter-passed initiative. Continue reading >
The sprawling Kansas 1st Congressional District, which consumes all of the western part of the state and stretches almost all the way to Topeka, could be the scene of an upset in tonight’s Republican primary according to some local political observers. Two-term Rep. Tim Huelskamp is being challenged by former school superintendent Alan LaPolice.
Though the challenger had only raised $137,000 through the June 30 financial disclosure deadline, the local farm groups and many in the solar wind energy industry are actively involved in trying to unseat the incumbent. Huelskamp, the victim of Speaker John Boehner’s show of party discipline in the former’s freshman year, was removed from the Agriculture Committee. The action left the region uncovered on the panel, something unheard of for a representative from this agriculture dominated district.
Huelskamp has been one of the vocal members of the Tea Party caucus openly critical of the GOP leadership. Whether he is toppled tonight remains to be seen, and the congressman is still the favorite to win, but it does add another bit of intrigue into what will already be an exciting night most specifically in Kansas and Michigan. Continue reading >