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In wake of redistricting situation, Sarasota’s Greg Steube contemplates future

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The president of the Lakewood Ranch Republican Club, Steve Vernon, has become the second candidate to file for Sarasota state Rep. Greg Steube‘s House seat in 2016, as reported by the Bradenton Herald.

However, neither Vernon nor Joe Gruters, the other announced candidate in the contest, say they want to actually challenge Steube in the HD 73 seat. Both men say they’re entering the race based on the supposition that Steube will announce at some point that he is running for the Senate District 28 seat currently held by Nancy Detert. However, that will only happen if and when Detert announces that she’s stepping down from her Senate seat to run for a County Commission seat in Sarasota.

Got all of that?

At least that was the idea, before Florida’s legislative leaders announced on Tuesday that there will be a third special session of the Legislature this fall to draw up new Senate district lines.

House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Senate President Andy Gardiner said that instead of waiting for the Florida Supreme Court to weigh in on the constitutionality of the lines the Senate drew up in 2012, they will proactively go ahead and redraw the 28 districts under question.

Steube says that really means that all 40 such districts will be redrawn, making him cautious about anything in the immediate future.

“I have said that I currently live in Senator Detert’s district, and if she decided to run for County Commission, I’ll file and run for her Senate district but that may very well change,” the GOP lawmaker told Florida Politics on Wednesday. “I think it would be very shortsighted that the districts in this area aren’t going to change somewhat throughout the state.”

The House Republican says that two of the seats that he can see being redrawn are Tampa state Sen. Arthenia Joyner‘s District 19 seat that includes a part of Manatee County in addition to Pinellas and Hillsborough, and Bradenton state Sen. Bill Galvano’s Senate District 26 seat — which encompasses DeSoto, Glades, Hardee counties, and parts of Charlotte, Highlands, Hillsborough, and Manatee counties. “She’s got 40,000 people in Galvano’s district and Galvano was one of those identified,” Steube says, referring to those districts that the Supreme Court might likely rule were drawn improperly.

The Florida Legislature will convene August 10-21 to redraw the eight congressional districts that the Supreme Court ruled earlier this month were drawn in violation of the Fair Districts amendment. Observers believe that will impact all 27 congressional seats. They will convene again on October 19 to November 6 to redraw the Senate lines.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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