The shifting lines of Florida’s congressional districts could spice up campaigns and signal the end of political careers for veterans and rising stars alike. There are several winners and losers in the “base map” drafted by legislative staffers and under consideration from lawmakers during the special session that ends next week. Here are some observations from the first two days: This is all about two more Democratic seats. If the base map were to be adopted as is, all of the fighting, legal maneuvering, the special sessions, the redrawing, adjusting and tinkering will be over a likely possible gain of two congressional districts for the Democrats. The crux of the discussion over moving U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown’s north-south district snaking down from Jacksonville into Orlando and moving it to an east-west configuration running from Jacksonville to Tallahassee – what Democratic groups and the League of Women Voters, have suggested from the beginning – will net Democrats two more districts overall, due to changes further down the map.
One of the casualties of that change would be U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, D-Tallahassee, the lone bright spot for Democrats on election day last year. Her district would become much more Republican-leaning, as a chunk of Democratic supporters would be drawn into the new east-west district.
Democrats, though, would theoretically (never count out Republicans’ ability to mount an upset) pick up seats in the Tampa, Orlando and Miami metro areas, for a net gain of two. If results hold to form, Florida’s congressional delegation makeup would be 15 Republicans, 12 Democrats, instead of the current 17-10 split.