The latest battle in a four-year war over redistricting in Florida is poised to begin Monday in a Leon County courtroom, with Republican dominance in the state Senate possibly hanging in the balance. Palm Beach County’s four senators — three Democrats and a Republican — would see the area they represent changed significantly under district boundaries floated by a voters’ coalition, which has clashed steadily with the GOP-led Legislature. The proposed maps could even lead to two senators, Joe Abruzzo, D-Wellington, and Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, running against each other in a redrawn county district that stretches into Broward County. By contrast, a map submitted by the Senate would prove less disruptive to the county.
Still, incoming Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, would be moved completely out of Palm Beach County under the legislative plan – potentially costing the county the benefit of having an influential leader within its boundaries. Negron, however, has said he will remain loyal to Palm Beach County, no matter where his district boundaries lie.
“You never know what a judge is going to do,” said Sachs, who said she is “not neurotic” about her political future. “And here we’re not only dealing with one judge but also later the Florida Supreme Court.”
The trial on the Senate boundaries begins Monday before Leon County Circuit Judge George Reynolds, who has set aside the week for testimony and review of five maps before him – four from voters’ organizations and the Senate’s single proposed plan, which never was approved by the full chamber.