Inside the Lines: Round-up of media coverage of redistricting for 8/26

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Just a reminder about SaintPetersBlog’s sister-site, InsideTheLinesFLA.com and one of the features that site offers, a daily round-up of media coverage of redistricting.  Here’s today’s:

The Florida House and Senate redistricting committees will hold their final round of joint public meetings in Southwest Florida. Meetings will take place in Tampa, Largo, Sarasota, Naples, Lehigh Acres and Clewiston from Aug. 29 to Sept. 1.
The Sarasota meeting is set for 6-9 p.m. Tuesday in the Harry Sudakoff Conference Center at New College, 5845 General Dougher Place.
The 10th district becomes more Democratic as it adds Democratic parts of St. Petersburg that were previously in the 11th district. The current 11th district jumped across Tampa Bay to grab Democratic parts of St. Petersburg but the 10th now combines communities of interest by representing all of Pinellas County except for the northern part. As for the district’s representative, Bill Young (R) who is 80 years old has represented the area since 1971 and has won reelection easily in the Democratic years of 2006 and 2008. The addition of Democratic areas should not be enough to unseat him but they may prompt him to retire. If he retires, this seat should be competitive but the district’s 56% Obama percentage should give the Democrats an advantage.
The 11th district becomes more compact as it loses the string connecting it to Democratic neighborhoods in Bradenton and St. Petersburg. The 11th district now contains Tampa Bay and its close in suburbs. These changes make the 11th district more Republican but Hillsborough County’s Democratic trend and Obama’s 61% in the district should keep Castor safe from a Republican challenge.
Competing interests are at play, from the political goals of elected officials to the racial politics that still divide some communities.
At the center of the storm is the 3rd Congressional District, a seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, a Democrat from Jacksonville. Brown’s district stretches from her hometown in the north to Orlando in the south, winding through nine counties in the process.
“I got to say it is probably the most popular district not just in Florida, but the entire country,” Brown quipped.
Drawn following a legal battle in the 1990s — and as part of an alliance between African-American Democrats and Republicans eager to reap the gains of concentrating black votes into majority-minority districts — the 3rd District has become a fixture in the debate over how to redraw the lines.
Democrats pounced Thursday on politically inartful comments by Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.), who told constituents that his $174,000 salary is nothing to write home about.
Southerland won the Tallahasse-centered district by unseating Democrat Allen Boyd last year. It’s currently a GOP-leaning district, but may get slightly more competitive under Florida’s yet-to-be-drawn redistricting plan. Florida’s redistricting won’t be completed until next year.
Former Republican state Sen. Nancy Argenziano had announced that she would run for the seat as a Democrat, but a state elections board said she cannot because she was registered with a different party for a year before the period when candidates qualify for the ballot.
Nearly half the the states required to draw new congressional maps before the 2012 election have done so, and Republicans and Democrats are neck-and-neck in the battle to create new districts for their side to win.
But recent GOP-drawn maps in South Carolina, North Carolina and now Georgia — combined with a Republican map in Texas — have all helped the GOP even the score.
It’s looking more and more as if the map in Florida will determine who gains more seats this redistricting cycle. Republicans think they can draw the two new seats in Florida in their favor, even though they already control 19 of the state’s current 25 districts. But Democrats have suggested that new constitutional amendments passed by voters in 2010 could restrict the GOP’s ability to draw convoluted districts that favor their party and could actually lead to Democrats picking up several seats.
A public hearing will be held Thursday from 4:00 – 7:30 p.m. at the Tarpon Springs City Commission Auditorium to gather public input on the redistricting process.  City Commission is located at 324 E. Pine Street.
Voters unable to attend Thursday’s hearing can attend another on Tuesday, Aug. 30 at the St. Petersburg College EpiCenter–13805 58th St. N in Largo–from 1:00 – 11:00 a.m.

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.