After last night’s Republican Presidential debate, the candidates’ respective spinmeisters made their cases to the media as to why their guy won the debate. One of Governor Mitt Romney’s spokesmen was Florida Representative Will Weatherford, and during the course of his remarks in the “Spin Room”, he shed a very dim light on the ongoing redistricting process in the Florida Legislature.
West’s congressional district inexplicably sheds the most out support as compared to all other incumbent Republican and Democrat Congressman. A few weeks back we quoted an unnamed legislator saying that, “Allen West was screwed”, a statement which was originally made about made five months before the proposed maps were made public, leading insiders to believe that the fix was in against Allen West. But in light of Weatherford’s comment, it is increasingly clear that this is a fait accompli.
According to Weatherford, those preliminary maps will not change- at the most, any additional changes would be minimal, and those changes would not make any appreciable difference from the preliminary maps. In addition, Weatherford stated that a deal was struck between him, Senate President Mike Haridopolos, and Senator Don Gaetz to finalize these maps and push them through as soon as possible. Weatherford also said that the proposed maps are in legal compliance with both the Voting Rights Act and Amendment 6.
So based on Weatherford’s comments, the 22nd Congressional District is now very much in play for the Democrat Party, and West is at an even larger disadvantage than he was previously – it will be a very difficult and expensive seat for Republicans to defend.
Here is what the Washington Post wrote about this a few days ago:
Because the GOP has such a huge majority of seats in a swing state — 19 of 25, to be exact — shoring up all 19 of those members was a difficult task. And that means some Republicans see their districts get tougher under the new map.
Case in point are Reps. Tom Rooney and Allen West. Both of their South Florida districts got about four points more Democratic, which should make life significantly tougher for each of them. Rooney now has a more compact swing seat (the 18th) north of West Palm Beach, while West’s already Democratic-leaning 22nd district just south of Rooney’s became even more Democratic and will be tough for him to hold.
West has been a very outspoken tea party freshman and has raised huge money, but line-drawers don’t appear to have done him many favors. His district, as constructed, would have gone about 43 percent for the last two Republican presidential nominees.
Both men appear to have options, though. Rooney could run in the new 17th, which includes much of his current territory in the Everglades, while there has been some talk of West running across the state in Mack’s district. (Though West has shown no interest in this.)
Now I’m not saying Romney himself is behind this. That seems a bit absurd. It’s more likely that he’s made enemies in DC whose tentacles are reaching into the state legislatures to do their bidding. It seems pretty clear that there are some who definitely don’t like West’s level of Tea Party influence and that the long knives are out for him.
But something tells me they underestimate this man and they could be, in effect, pushing him onto a more national stage where his voice would be even larger. I’m just wondering what they would think if West were to become a VP candidate this year.
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