Lawmakers are due in Tallahassee August 10 to redraw the Congressional districts they gerrymandered in defiance of a constitutional amendment that aimed to put an end to gerrymandering. They will be tasked with redrawing at least eight of the state's 27 Congressional Districts, including the 13th and 14th, which include parts of Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.
“Today, I have informed our members that we will be returning to Tallahassee from August 10-August 21 for a special session on Congressional Redistricting," said House Speaker Steve Crisafulli in a media release. "I look forward to working with our Senate partners to comply with the recent Supreme Court ruling."
He also announced the appointment of Rep. Jose Oliva (R-Hialeah) to chair the House committee that will take part in the process, adding that Oliva "will thoughtfully lead the House’s efforts in this matter.”
Given how much the process was corrupted in 2012, we'll see how that thoughtfulness plays out.
In the meantime, the fallout from the redistricting lawsuit, first brought by the Florida League of Women Voters, has delivered us a watershed moment for political news, especially Tampa Bay.
In Pinellas, a seat that leaned a little Republican (because of a wide swath of Democrats taken out of the district), there will be an open Congressional seat for the second time in under two years. The seat was safely held by Republican Rep. C.W. Bill Young for years. After Young died in office, the seat went to Republican now-U.S. Rep. David Jolly in a hotly contested special election.
Now, of course, Jolly is leaving what will likely turn into a Democrat-friendly seat to run for U.S. Senate.
Democrats are salivating at the prospect of a vacant, Democrat-leaning Congressional district, and several could join Democrat Eric Lynn in a party primary.
Among them is former governor Charlie Crist, whose home could fall within the district boundaries once it's redrawn.
"If the new congressional map includes my home, I intend on running to serve the people again,'' Crist said, just hours after Jolly announced his Senate run, according to the News Service of Florida. Crist was elected governor in 2006 as a Republican but later switched parties.