Under the newly drawn Congressional District 7 seat awaiting Florida Supreme Court approval, venerable north-central area GOP U.S. Rep. John Mica appears vulnerable for the first time in his 22-year-long congressional career.
And the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is excited about that possibility.
In a memo released on Tuesday by Jermaine House, south regional press secretary for the DCCC, it’s made clear that the Florida 7th is now a battleground district. House writes that the redrawn district becomes 2-3 points more Democratic, and President Obama carried the new district in 2008 with 51.6 percent of the vote, and tied Mitt Romney in 2012.
Under the newly drawn lines, CD 7 now encompasses portions of East Orlando that includes more Latinos — they will now account for 20.6 percent of the new district, and African Americans represent an additional 11.7 percent of the new district.
The DCCC says that some of Mica’s previous comments may not play so well in this new district, such as his comment that, “My state, in fact, has seen the impact of these deluges of illegal, and I call them semi legal immigrants in Florida. Our hospitals and jails and schools are filled to capacity.”
The memo also highlights the fact that Mica has voted eight times to raise his own pay, accepting a 30 percent salary increase over his time in Congress. House writes that during the same time span, he’s voted for GOP measures that cut funding for Medicare, Pell Grant funding, and Social Security.
The DCCC also gleefully notes that in a new district that is covered 100 percent by the Orlando media market, Mica could be challenged. “The cost of Orlando broadcast advertising is significant, and certainly requires fundraising at a pace far beyond what Mica has done thus far in 2015,” House writes.
“Whether it’s appealing to a more Democratic electorate, defending his 20-year-old record in Washington, or raising funds consistent with competitive races across the country – one thing is clear: John Mica’s road to re-election won’t be easy this time around,” concludes the memo.
Bill Phillips, a former consultant for NextGen Florida, announced last week that he will challenge Mica in 2016. Phillips currently serves as first vice president of business development at Amalgamated Bank.
Despite reports that he might consider running in the much more favorable CD 6 seat in Florida being vacated by Ron DeSantis, Mica says he’s staying put.
“District 7 is where my home is and it’s where I’ve lived for 43 years,” he said in a statement last week. “I intend to continue representing and am actively seeking re-election to only District 7.”