In today’s edition: The fallout from Florida’s new maps; Illinois filing deadline passes; Louisiana Republicans line up to replace Fleming, Boustany; new opponents for Reps. Comstock, McDermott.
The Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday gave a final okay to a new Congressional district map, handing proponents of nonpartisan redistricting rules a major win after years of legal wrangling. The new lines will face another challenge in federal court, but most observers think they are likely to stand until the next round of redistricting takes effect in 2020.
Here’s what you need to know about the new lines:
Democrats are going to gain. Rep. David Jolly’s (R) Tampa-based seat is almost certain to flip, given new Democratic-heavy precincts that once belonged to Rep. Kathy Castor (D). Rep. Daniel Webster’s (R) Orlando-area district picks up a whole bunch of Democrats currently represented by Rep. Corrine Brown (D). Rep. John Mica’s (R) district got marginally more Democratic, which could give him trouble in a presidential year.
But Republicans will win a new seat, too. Brown’s district, which once stretched vertically from the Orlando suburbs to the Jacksonville area, now runs horizontally from Jacksonville along the Georgia border. The new district takes a lot of Democratic voters out of the new 2nd District, which effectively draws freshman Rep. Gwen Graham (D) out of a seat. Her old district gave President Obama 46 percent of the vote in 2012; her new district gave him just 35 percent.
Rep. Carlos Curbelo’s life just got harder. The new map makes some changes to the Miami-area district represented by Curbelo, a freshman Republican, as part of an effort to make Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s (R) seat more compact. Curbelo won a swing seat in 2014, but the new lines add a bunch of Democratic precincts to his district. He’ll face a well-funded Democratic opponent in businesswoman Annette Taddeo in what is essentially a 50-50 seat.
Others face new constituents, but no big challenges. Reps. Ted Deutch (D) and Lois Frankel (D) hold seats that run parallel to each other, north and south. The new maps stack their districts on top of each other. They’re still safely Democratic seats, but both Deutch and Frankel will have to introduce themselves to new voters. Deutch is going to run in the 22nd district, where both incumbents currently live; Frankel said Thursday she’ll run in the new 21st district.
Corrine Brown isn’t happy. Brown and Rep. Frederica Wilson (D) have filed a federal lawsuit, claiming the new maps limit the influence of minority voters. “Beyond a doubt, today’s ruling and the proposed congressional map is a direct attack on minority voters and a clear example of voter retrogression and disenfranchisement,” Brown said in a statement Wednesday.
The courts aren’t done yet. Next up: A December 14 hearing before a state circuit court judge in Tallahassee, who will decide how to redraw state Senate districts under Fair Districts guidelines. The state legislature couldn’t agree on a Senate district map during a three-week special session earlier this year.
Here’s what the new maps look like:
In The News
Illinois: The first filing deadline is in the books, and Reps. Mike Bost (R) and Rodney Davis (R) are breathing easier after Democrats failed to field top-tier challengers in two swing seats. Bost will face attorney C.J. Baricevic (D) in a St. Louis-area district that President Obama won by 1.5 percentage points; Davis faces a little-known Macon County board member in a seat Mitt Romney won by just three-tenths of a point.
Louisiana: With Reps. Charles Boustany (R) and John Fleming (R) both in the running for Sen. David Vitter’s (R) seat, a handful of Republicans are lining up for their shot to go to Washington. State Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle (R), who came in third in the gubernatorial primary, is thinking about running for Boustany’s coastal 3rd District, along with energy company executive Greg Ellison. State Sen. Barrow Peacock (R) and state Reps. Mike Johnson (R) and Alan Seabaugh (R) are lining up to compete for Fleming’s Shreveport-based 4th district. Both seats are safely red.
Arizona: Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D) Wednesday offered her endorsement to former state Sen. Tom O’Halleran, a Republican-turned-Democrat who’s running for Kirkpatrick’s sprawling 1st District seat. O’Halleran is likely to make it through the primary easily. He would face the winner of a crowded Republican primary that includes state House Speaker David Gowan, former Secretary of State Ken Bennett and Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu.
Virginia: Businesswoman LuAnn Bennett (D) is about to kick off her campaign against freshman Rep. Barbara Comstock (R) in northern Virginia. Bennett has hired Adam Zuckerman, who runs state Attorney General Mark Herring’s (D) political action committee, as her campaign manager.
Washington: State Rep. Brady Walkinshaw (D) will challenge Rep. Jim McDermott (D) next year, he told The Seattle Times on Wednesday. McDermott, who’s seeking his 15th term, has never faced a real challenge in his Seattle-based seat; Walkinshaw represents a heavily-Democratic seat in northeast Seattle, including the University of Washington’s campus. And get this: Walkinshaw was 4 years old when McDermott won his seat.
New York: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D) wants Ulster County Executive Mike Hein (D) to run for retiring Rep. Chris Gibson’s (R) swing seat. Gibson’s 19th District lies between Albany and Poughkeepsie; President Obama won 52.1 percent of the vote there in 2012. Republicans John Faso and Assemblyman Pete Lopez are running for the Republican nod.
Iowa: We doubt national Republicans will put a lot of money behind Rep. Dave Loebsack’s (D) challenger. State Sen. Mark Chelgren (R) said Monday he backs executing undocumented immigrants who come back over the border after committing a felony in the U.S. The reaction from the state GOP: “These remarks do not represent the values and beliefs of Iowa Republicans. Period.”
Map Of The Day: From our friends at @MetricMaps, 31 states have a Washington County, the most common county name in America. Jefferson, Franklin, Jackson and Lincoln round out the top five most common county names.