Voters’ coalition plan would bring back Negron, keep four Senate seats in Palm Beach County

Sen. Joe Negron. Where he lands, no one knows

Sen. Joe Negron. Where he lands, no one knows

Just when it looked like Sen. Joe Negron was going to be saying goodbye to Palm Beach County, a proposed Senate map by a voters’ coalition tucks him back within the county’s boundaries.

Six earlier staff-drawn Senate maps — and the proposal approved Wednesday by the full chamber — remove the Stuart Republican’s Jupiter-Tequesta piece of the county, pushing him further north and west.

Negron is in line to become Senate president following next year’s election, and his departure would cost the county some political muscle. But the map approved Wednesday also reduces the county’s Senate delegation from four seats to three — a cut opposed by the Palm Beach County Commission.

“Nothing in this process is final until it’s over,” Negron told the Post Wednesday. “But it certainly appears more likely I’ll be representing voters further north and west than those in Palm Beach County.”

But a late-hour map from voters’ groups led by the Florida League of Women Voters keeps Negron’s District 32 in Palm Beach County’s northern tier. It also retains four Senate seats in the county — complying with county commissioners’ wish list.

Voters coalition map keeps four Senate seats in Palm Beach County.

Voters coalition map keeps four Senate seats in Palm Beach County.

It’s hard to tell where any of the Senate map-making ends up. The Senate map approved Wednesday could face a tough review in the Florida House, where Redistricting Chairman Jose Oliva, R-Miami, said he plans to consider a range of  plans, including the voters’ proposal.

The Florida Supreme Court also is positioned to have the final word on what Senate boundaries look like, beginning with next year’s elections. And so far, courts have viewed more favorability coalition-drawn plans than those coming out of the Legislature.

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