January 5th, 2012 – Redistricting in Florida is causing an outcry from South Florida and a ‘call to arms’ effort to keep Florida Congressional District 22 leaning slightly Republican, and in the hands of Allen West.
There can be no doubt that the new redistricting rules for Florida are a twisted mess of litigation. Moreover, the language in the Amendments passed does nothing to ensure objective revision of the districts, choosing instead to allow for subjective and irrelevant assessment of congressional districts. Language such as this – “Legislative districts may not be drawn to favor or disfavor an incumbent or political party. Districts shall not be drawn to deny racial or language minorities the equal opportunity to participate in the political process and elect representatives of their choice.” – create a horrible precedent of ambiguity in the decision. “Racial or Language minorities”? After searching extensively through Florida state law, the staff of the Political Watchman hasn’t been able to find any case or place where there is a definition of what a “LANGUAGE MINORITY” exists. Thus the danger that now faces Florida’s redistricting.
One of the highest profile potential victims of this subjective redistricting is Congressman Allen West. The 22nd U.S. Congressional District has historically been slightly Republican leaning, thanks to certain sidesteps into heavily Republican neighborhoods. Candidate Lt. Colonel Allen West benefitted from the District lines during his campaign, and secured victory in the 2010 election by a significant “get out and vote” effort by his campaign staff, and his genuine grassroots appeal.
West had the opportunity to step into the U.S. Senate race to face Bill Nelson, but declined in order continue as a U.S. Representative. That decision to stay in the 22nd Congressional District may return to haunt Congressman West, since the District, based on the proposed redrawn lines, will now lean slightly Democrat. That possibility has many Republicans in South Florida crying “FOUL!” and launching an email/letter writing campaign to keep the 22nd District lines in place. Entreatments and petitions have been sent out from Republicans all throughout Broward County, including emails from members of the Broward Republican Executive Committee.
In an atmosphere where the majority of Americans want ‘straight shooting’, efforts of ANY political party, group or special interest to influence the redistricting lines is distasteful, but that includes the pandering, subjective “politically correct” language used in the Amendments themselves.
For Congressman Allen West, the consequences of Amendments 5 & 6, and his choice not to step in to the Senate race may be a single term in office as a U.S. Representative. It is unfortunate that Republicans may lose the 22nd Congressional District. It is also disheartening that Congressman Allen West may be destined for a one term political career. The fiery, outspoken Congressman, when at his best, stands for solid conservative values. Perhaps the redistricting of CD-22 will actually save Congressman West by helping him re-anchor himself in the values of his grassroots constituents, and placing him unshakably back on Constitutional values and governance. For the constituents of Florida, the ramifications of Amendments 5 & 6, as well as efforts on both sides to manipulate new boundries may be much more devastating, by setting an uncertain and unstable future for a very politically influential state. This may have been the reason that the founding fathers recommended drawing districts that were as square as possible, without being hindered by city and county lines. Keep Watch!