The strongest argument Republicans may have against Alex Sink’s campaign for Congressional District 13 is that she ‘is not from here’ and that she will have to move into the district if she wins. For example, state Senator Jack Latvala is quoted today as describing Sink’s ambition to represent Pinellas County as “the height of arrogance.”
Look for the word “carpetbagger” to be used to describe Sink a lot between now and the general election on March 11.
However, Sink’s not as much of a carpetbagger as it may first appear on MapQuest.
My colleague Matt Florell of St. Pete Polls suggested to me that Sink has been one of us, i.e. in a Pinellas congressional seat, all along.
Sink’s current home in Thonotosassa is in Precinct 633 of Hillsborough County. Before the last round of redistricting, Precinct 633 was part of Florida Congressional District 9, which included the City of Clearwater and a large swath of the current CD-13.
Here is a map of the old CD-9; see how it hooked into Pinellas.
In other words, it’s not like Sink lives on the other side of the state. Her congressional district for the last decade included a sizable portion of Pinellas County, including parts of what is now CD-13.
As for how far outside of the current CD-13 she lives now, it’s a 30 mile drive from her house to the closest residence in CD-13.
Florell notes that this situation isn’t really very different from Allen West’s in 2010, where he lived outside of the Congressional district he ran for, and eventually won. (Here’s an article from 2010 on West’s residency issues.)
Since we didn’t hear a lot from the National Republican Congressional Committee then about West’s residency issues, we shouldn’t hear too much from them about Sink’s moving into the district.
As I reported two days ago, Sink’s son is set to join a St. Petersburg-based law firm and her daughter has worked/works at All Children’s Hospital. She has roots here. Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times reported yesterday that Sink has even changed her phone number so that she has a 727 area code (Pinellas) rather than an 813 area code (Hillsborough).
In the end, it really won’t matter where Sink lives, it’s where her values lie.