The House and Senate Congressional proposals are beginning to take more shape. This week, the Florida Senate adopted its proposal, and today, the House Redistricting Committee informally agreed to move forward with a single map (last week they had three, last month, they had seven).
There are a lot of similarities between the maps. Both place the two new seats in roughly the same area, one in North Central Florida (Villages area) and one around Orlando, the latter of which is designed to give Hispanics an opportunity to elect a Hispanic to Congress. The parties should split the two new seats.
The two maps would create somewhat similar outcomes. Both preserve the African-American districts, and both create an additional Hispanic seat. Also, in terms of the Democratic seats, all of the incumbents find themselves in safe seats. Both maps acreate a district for Bill Young that will likely be a pretty good pick-up opportunity for the Democrats when he eventually retires. Furthermore, the members in swing districts in the map are for the most part the same in both maps, though there are differences between the maps.
All usual disclaimers apply -- most notably, this all changes going forward.
So here are the places that are interesting, moving north to south. I left out the Bill Young seat, but as the note above mentioned, it is definitely competitive on paper.
Rep. Southerland (CD 2) - As discussed in previous posts, Southerland moves from a seat that at worst (for him) was likely Republican, to one that is marginally lean Republican. Should Bembry make it to the general, this should be a very interesting race in 2012.
Rep. John Mica (old CD 7) - The early proposals looked like Mica could move to a much more competitive district, but at this point, the House and Senate maps are virtually identical and likely safe for him. However, he is going to need a realtor since he lives 20-30 miles from the district.
Rep. Sandy Adams (old CD 24)- Depending on which maps passes, Adams remains in a lean GOP seat (Senate), or moves to a very competitive district (House). The Senate map takes the Corrine Brown district and cuts into the Sanford (Seminole County) area and picks up some Democratic precincts. The House map doesn't. Where the legislature lands on that point will define how competitive the seat is.
Rep. Dan Webster (old CD 8)- One of most significant differences between the House and Senate map is the Webster seat. Both maps have most of western Orange County and parts of Polk, but the House map takes the district north into Lake County, while the Senate map wraps more into the city of Orlando (and closer to where Webster lives) and goes west and takes in Lakeland in Polk County. Both districts are competitive, in the House case, Webster would be running for a seat that is a good 15-20 minute drive (in traffic) from his house.
Rep. Vern Buchanan (old CD 13) Both the House and Senate districts are slightly better for the Democrats, though the House moreso than the Senate. The House map keeps whole Sarasota County and as well as the eastern part of Manatee -- and all of Bradenton. The Senate map cuts out parts of Bradenton and puts them in Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Castor's seat, as well as splitting Sarasota County and moving the district down the coast into Charlotte County. Either way, I think Buchanan/Fitzgerald to be a good race.
Rep. Tom Rooney (old CD 16) - The Rooney seat in the House proposal is virtually identical, if not actually identical to the Senate proposal. By cutting off the western portion of the district, Rooney moves from a lean GOP seat to a toss-up one. Given all these dynamics, if I was a strong Democrat in this part of Florida, I would be spending some serious time looking at this seat.
Rep. Allen West (old CD 22) - The House and Senate proposals are similar, and both are tough on West. First, as I mentioned on previous blogs, swing districts usually aren't represented by firebrands (see Alan Grayson 2010), and given his rhetoric, he was likely to struggle anyway in a center-left leaning swing district, even if it didn't change. But it did change - probably 3-5 points in favor of the Democrats.
Rep. David Rivera (old CD 25)The Rivera seat is going to be competitive in either map. The House map creates a SW Dade district that also has the Keys. The Senate district creates a more compact SW Dade seat, putting the Keys in a coastal Dade/Monroe district. In terms of voting, either way, the district is pretty close to 50:50.