Senate district boundaries drawn by a voters’ coalition that could help Democrats win additional seats were recommended Wednesday by a judge over those drawn by Republican state lawmakers.
Leon County Circuit Judge George Reynolds sent a plan to the Florida Supreme Court seen as likely helping Democrats gain at least two new seats in a Senate where Republicans currently control 26 of 40 seats.
The proposed map also changes all four of Palm Beach County’s Senate districts. It would keep the county’s lone Republican senator, Senate President-designate Joe Negron, of Stuart, in the county — with the district he currently holds reshaped to represent the county’s far northwestern region.
The map submitted by the Florida Senate would have moved Negron out of Palm Beach County, into a district comprised of Martin, St. Lucie and Okeechobee counties.
The three seats held by Palm Beach County Democratic senators are overhauled in the recommended plan — and could set up a clash between Sens. Joe Abruzzo, D-Wellington, and Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, who may vie over the same district.
A western Palm Beach County district, including the Glades area, includes most of Abruzzo’s current district. But it also loops south in Boca Raton and Broward County, taking in some voters Sachs currently serves.
The central county district now held by Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, loses Riviera Beach and West Palm Beach, but keeps Lake Worth and surrounding communities. A third county Senate seat would include West Palm Beach and continue north along the coast to the Martin County line, taking in parts of the areas Clemens, Abruzzo and Negron now represent.
Abruzzo already vows to run in the southwestern Palm Beach County district that reaches into Broward – if it eventually is endorsed by the Supreme Court.
Sachs could choose to square off against Abruzzo there. Then again, she may move north from her current, Delray Beach residence, to the seat stretching from the West Palm Beach area to the Martin County line, an area she has never represented before.