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Congressional Redistricting Map Would Reshape Tampa Bay

Here is the proposed Congressional District map

The state Legislature has released its base map for next week’s special session.

Lawmakers return to Tallahassee next Monday to redraw the state’s congressional borders, and Wednesday leadership released the map that will serve as the session’s starting point.  Completely gone is the snaking North-South District 5 currently represented by Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL5).  Instead, it now runs along the northern border of the state from Liberty to Duval County. 

District 13 no longer crosses Tampa Bay, and that means Charlie Crist of St. Petersburg will likely face off against Eric Lynn for the district’s Democratic nomination. District 13 is now represented by Republican David Jolly, who is running for U.S. Senate.

And the District 14 seat, represented by Tampa Democrat Kathy Castor, has been redrawn so it doesn't include mostly Democratic south St. Petersburg. Her district is being pushed to the north, meaning the district represented by Republican Gus Bilirakis, is also being shifted to the north, into Pasco County.

And southern Hillsborough would be represented by the Sarasota-based district held by Republican Vern Buchanan.

But lawmakers may have their work cut out for them.  The Florida Supreme Court struck down the previous map in part for the way it sliced up communities like St. Petersburg.  Under the new map, Tallahassee gets similar treatment.  The new District 5 has an appendage reaching down to pick up western and southern portions of the city which cost Rep. Gwen Graham (D-FL2) supporters.  

There are similar questionable formations in District 20—a region straddling Palm Beach and Broward counties.

New districts are planned for the Tampa Bay area

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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