Florida’s House Redistricting Committee switched gears Friday, approving a new congressional map that shifts the state’s 12th District farther west.
“This map has big political ramifications for Pasco County,” Rep. John Legg said. “To my disappointment, the map includes north Pinellas and northwest Hillsborough, but it picks up Palm Harbor. It’s pretty much everything in Pinellas north of Tampa Road, which puts it in (U.S. Rep. Gus) Bilirakis’ seat.”
A week earlier, the committee endorsed a map that contained only a small segment of Pinellas (East Lake) and would have stretched as far east as Lutz. Two-thirds of the district’s population would live in Pasco.
Bilirakis has served three terms in Congress and has raised more than $334,500 for his re-election in 2012.
Both Legg, R-New Port Richey, and Redistricting Committee Chairman Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, voted for the new map. “This was a compromise that was reached with the Senate,” Legg said. “We voted for it. It was a strict party-line vote. But it wasn’t my first choice. It wasn’t even my second choice. It was a solid C choice.”
In the latest version, scheduled for a House vote Friday, the 12th District loses voters in Lutz and Carrollwood but picks them up in Oldsmar, Palm Harbor and Tarpon Springs.
“Now it will cause Gus Bilirakis to run in a district that’s two-thirds Pasco,” Legg said.
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