Florida redistricting may have lasting impact on Republicans in coastal communities

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August 26, 2011

By Bailey Ludlam

Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Florida: The Florida redistricting process remains ongoing but two constitutional amendments approved by voters in 2010 may tweak that process and impact Republicans in the coastal communities.

Last year's Amendment 5 called for amending the current practice of drawing legislative district boundaries in such ways that they establish "fairness," are "as equal in population as feasible" and use "city, county and geographical boundaries." Likewise Amendment 6 amended the practice for congressional districts.

If the amendments succeed in limiting gerrymandering in Florida, many Democrats believe the change would weaken the state's entrenched GOP majority. Republicans argue that their success is based on ideology not partisan districts.[1]

The impact of the amendments on Republicans could be sharply felt in the state's coastal communities. Several of these districts stretch along the coast, uniting coastal communities but dividing counties and municipalities. Since the amendments require that county and city lines are respected where possible, these districts may have to be re-drawn. However, local Republicans argue that these communities share common interests, interests that should be respected in redistricting. The legislators most likely to be affected include: US Rep. Allen West (R-22), State Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff (R-91), and State Reps. George Moraitis (R-91), Bill Hager (R-87), Pat Rooney (R-83), William Snyder (R-82), and Jeff Clemens (R-89).[2]

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