Two Democratic congressional incumbents from South Florida would be pitted against one another and tens of thousands of people in the Homestead area would be shifted into a new district under a first draft of a redistricting map released by the Florida Legislature just days before they begin a court-mandated special session Monday to deal with the topic. Hundreds of thousands of Tampa Bay residents would have a new member of Congress in 2016, and former Gov. Charlie Crist could be well on his way to winning a seat in the U.S. House. But by almost any account, the map proposed Wednesday has a long way to go to become law. Legislators will spend the next two weeks adjusting and amending the proposal, which ultimately would still need to go back to the courts for a final approval before it could go into effect.
In the big picture, even with all the shifting, Republicans would still be favored to hold the majority of congressional seats in Florida. Republicans represent 17 of the state’s 27 congressional districts now, despite the state’s having more registered Democrats than Republicans.
Democrats might lose one seat in North Florida because of the new lines but are optimistic that they will ultimately gain two seats in return: one in Pinellas County and the other near Orlando.