Drawn into the same district as colleague, Brad Drake to bow out of Legislature (for 2 years)

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In one of the first clear effects of the way legislative districts will be redrawn under the plans passed Thursday by the Senate, a Panhandle Republican lawmaker who finds himself living in the same district as a more senior GOP colleague said he’ll bow out of the Legislature for two years, hoping to return when the colleague leaves, reports the News Service of Florida. Rep. Brad Drake, R-Eucheeanna, said he won’t run for House District 5 in 2012, but announced his candidacy for the seat in 2014. That will let Rep. Marti Coley, R-Marianna, who also lives in the district, run without facing another incumbent in a primary. Coley will be term-limited in two years. “I am confident that Marti Coley can effectively represent our district; she currently represents part of Bay and Walton Counties and a majority of Jackson County,” Drake said in a statement. Coley said she was “honored” by Drake’s support. Republican leaders have said several GOP lawmakers now live in the same district as another Republican House member, and have offered that as proof that they didn’t try to protect any incumbents or better their own party’s position in the redistricting, which is now headed to the Supreme Court for review – and was also challenged in a lawsuit filed Thursday by Democrats. Voters recently put new redistricting standards in the constitution requiring that the process not take into account partisan considerations or incumbent protection.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.