Newspaper article Roll Call

House Democrats Have Mixed Reaction to Florida Redistricting Ruling

Newspaper article Roll Call

House Democrats Have Mixed Reaction to Florida Redistricting Ruling

Article excerpt

Democrats on Capitol Hill expressed mixed reactions Friday to a new court ruling that declared Florida's congressional map unconstitutional.

A judge ruled Thursday that the Sunshine State's 5th and 10th Districts, held by Democratic Rep. Corrine Brown and Republican Rep. Daniel Webster were unconstitutional -- effectively tossing out the entire map drawn by Republicans in 2012.

It's still unclear if this means the map will have be redrawn before November. The Miami Herald reported Thursday night that a new map will not be used until 2016. But Democrats remain hopeful changes could come earlier and are making preparations for the 2014 elections to be waged over new lines in the Sunshine State.

Democrats specifically focused on Webster's district, which is west of Orlando, in the hours after the Thursday evening decision.

A Democratic strategist with knowledge of the matter said operatives are in communication with former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings as a possible recruit against Webster for this fall. Demings was the Democratic nominee against Webster in 2012, and he defeated her by a 3.5 percent margin.

But Demings proved such a prized recruit that Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel called her on election night 2012 to pitch another go-round. She ultimately opted against a rematch this cycle. Florida's 10th District is currently rated Safe Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Many Democrats believe a new map means the candidate filing window could open again. This would be significant because Democrats failed to find a viable recruit to challenge Republican Rep. David Jolly for the competitive 13th District based in St. Petersburg. Normally, that seat would be competitive, but that race, too, is rated Safe Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call because of the recruitment woes.

Also, not every Democrat is cheering the ruling.

"I'm disappointed with the ruling," Brown said, elaborating on a lengthy statement she released Thursday night on the matter. …

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