Ted Deutch and Lois Frankel say they won’t challenge each other in FL-CD 21

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Initial reviews of the base redistricting map drawn up by a special committee within the Florida Legislature this week indicate that the Democrats will probably improve their representation in Congress next year.

But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t some pain being felt by some Democratic incumbents.

The biggest potential loser is rising star Gwen Graham. Her District 2 seat looks seriously compromised, with many of her voters now squeezed into Corrine Brown’s District 5 seat.

Another dilemma is that Palm Beach County U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch and Lois Frankel have now been squeezed into Deutch’s CD 21 seat.

What to do?

Nothing immediately, obviously, as the proposed base map is not the final deal. But to alleviate concerns among their supporters and donors, the two have come together to issue a joint statement saying that while both intend to run for Congress next year, it won’t be against each other in a contested primary election.

“We both believe in the concept of Fair Districts and that congressional districts should be drawn to serve the people, not for the pleasure of elected officials,” the two Democrats write. “We have both proudly worked as a team and with other members of our delegation, serving the residents of Palm Beach and Broward counties over many years. We both fully intend to run for re-election and we look forward to serving in Congress together as long as our constituents give us this honor.  We are friends, have great respect for one another and both of us are fully committed to not running against each other.”

As reported by Anthony Mann in the South-Florida Sun-Sentinel, the newly drawn CD 21 seat is territory that Deutch mostly controls, as he retains nearly 60 percent of the current population of that district.

The Legislature returns to Tallahassee next Monday for a two-week special session to address the redistricting issue. Although charged by the Florida Supreme Court to specifically redraw eight congressional districts found to be in violation of the 2010 Fair Districts constitutional amendments, the base map shows that all 27 congressional district lines will ultimately be changed to some extent.

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.