Running in new territory, Deutch gets endorsements from fellow Broward Democrats

Rep. Ted Deutch, running in a new district, gets endorsements from fellow Democrats
Rep. Ted Deutch, running in a new district, gets endorsements from fellow Democrats

In a move that may be aimed at defusing potential opponents in his re-tooled congressional district, U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch was endorsed Tuesday by a handful of prominent Democrats.

Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, was joined by U.S. Reps. Alcee Hastings of Delray Beach and Lois Frankel of West Palm Beach in backing Boca Raton’s Deutch in his bid for the 22nd District, which now stretches deep into Broward County.

All four lawmakers currently represent parts of Broward County. But new congressional boundaries approved last week by the Florida Supreme Court make the 22nd District a Broward-dominated seat, stretching from Fort Lauderdale to Boca Raton.

Deutch agreed to run in the 22nd District, currently held by Frankel, while the West Palm Beach lawmaker seeks re-election in the 21st District, contained in Palm Beach County.

“Over the years, Ted has proven himself to be a consummate advocate for his South Florida constituents and a strong voice for Israel and Middle East peace, and his voice will be critically important in the 115th Congress,” Wasserman Schultz said. “He has represented Broward well and we are fortunate to have him.”

 

Seat Swap: Frankel, Deutch find solution to congressional district redraw

U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, and Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach.
U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, and Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach.

Following the Florida Supreme Court’s ruling revamping congressional district boundaries, Palm Beach County Democrats Lois Frankel and Ted Deutch have found a relatively simple solution aimed at retaining familiar territory.

They’ll swap districts.

But stay with us, while we explain this political version of  ‘who’s on first.’

Deutch of Boca Raton, currently represents the state’s Congressional District 21, stretching from Palm Beach County into Broward County. He’ll run for the revised District 22 seat that will range from Boca Raton and Highland Beach into Broward.

“The 22nd district, approved today by the Florida Supreme Court, is home to around 300,000 constituents I am proud to serve today, as well as thousands of Broward and Palm Beach County residents I previously represented in the Florida Senate and in Congress,” Deutch said.

“I am excited to run in the community where my wife and I work, where my daughters graduated and my son attends high school, where my family goes to synagogue, and where I have spent so much time working for and with the people of South Florida,” he added.

The District 22 seat is currently held by Frankel of West Palm Beach. But many of the communities contained in that district would be in District 21 following the court decision — which affirmed a District 21 contained in central Palm Beach County.

Frankel is now looking to run in that new District 21.

“I have deep respect for Ted Deutch’s tireless service to South Florida along with great affection for him as a friend,” Frankel said. “His decision to run in the new Broward-based seat reflects his long commitment to serving the community where he has worked and raised his family.”

“As the junior member of the South Florida delegation, I will honor his decision as I look to represent Palm Beach County in 2016. More importantly, Ted and I will remain focused on tackling the challenges of South Florida together, for as long as our constituents continue to elect us,” Frankel added.

Supreme Court ruling sets congressional boundaries with big changes in Palm Beach County

Justice Barbara Pariente wrote the court's majority opinion
Justice Barbara Pariente wrote the court’s majority opinion

The Florida Supreme Court set new boundaries for the state’s 27 congressional districts Wednesday, upholding a map drawn by a voters’ coalition in a setback to the Republican-ruled Legislature.

The 5-2 ruling endorses a recommendation from Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis who held a three-day trial in September to review maps submitted by lawmakers and the voters’ groups, led by the Florida League of Women Voters and the state’s Common Cause.

“We remain “cognizant that this Court’s role is not to select a redistricting map that performs better for one political party or another, but is instead to uphold the purposes of the constitutional provision approved by Florida voters to outlaw partisan intent in redistricting,” Justice Barbara Pariente wrote for the majority.

U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, has already vowed to challenge the justices’ ruling in federal court, claiming the recommended map converts her Jacksonville to Orlando district into one stretching west past Tallahassee.

Brown said the change disenfranchises minority voters in the Orlando area and she contends it violates the federal Voting Rights Act.

In Palm Beach County, the proposal recommended by Lewis dramatically changes three of the four congressional districts which course through the county.

Districts held by U.S. Reps. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, and Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, would undergo the most revision.

Frankel’s District 22 would become Broward County-based, and include only Boca Raton and Highland Beach in the former West Palm Beach mayor’s home county. Deutch’s two-county, District 21 — which like Frankel’s, runs north-to-south — would instead be contained completely in Palm Beach County.

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Delray Beach, would lose Hendry County from his District 20, in exchange for gaining a larger portion of Broward. The district would continue to include a majority of black voters, but also lose a section that splits six Palm Beach County cities, mostly along the Florida East Coast Railway tracks.

While a number of Palm Beach County officials earlier testified before lawmakers, urging that Frankel-Deutch districts remain two-county and continue stretching north-south, that had little effect on the mapmaking.

The battle over the once-a-decade task of redrawing congressional boundaries has proved epic in Florida, a legislative and courtroom brawl that began calmly enough four years ago, with public hearings around the state.

The Legislature’s first approved map was declared unconstitutional by Lewis in 2013, who ruled that interference by Republican consultants had “made a mockery” of voter-approved anti-gerrymandering constitutional standards.

After lawmakers redrew the map last year, that plan was tossed out by justices.

When the Legislature held a special session in August to attempt a third try, the House and Senate clashed bitterly and failed to reach consensus – leaving it to the courts to craft boundaries.

Justices to review congressional map that includes big changes for Palm Beach County

A plan for Florida's congressional districts heads today to the state Supreme Court.
A plan for Florida’s congressional districts heads today to the state Supreme Court.

Just days after the Florida Legislature failed to approve new Senate district boundaries, the state Supreme Court today will hear arguments on a congressional redistricting plan sent to them by a Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis.

Lawyers for the House, Senate and a pair of voting groups will have 20 minutes each to make their case this afternoon to the state’s seven justices. They are positioned to decide what boundaries are in place for the state’s 27 congressional districts for next year’s elections.

The congressional map has gone to justices after the House and Senate failed to agree during an August special session on setting new boundaries.

Two earlier efforts by the Legislature to draw the map had been thrown out by the courts for violating anti-gerrymandering provisions in the state constitution.

Leon Circuit Judge Terry Lewis recommended a plan to the Supreme Court last month, following a three-day hearing.

In Palm Beach County, the proposal recommended by Lewis dramatically changes three of the four congressional districts which course through the county.

Districts now held by U.S. Reps. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, and Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, would undergo the most revision.

Frankel’s District 22 would become Broward County-based, and include only Boca Raton and Highland Beach in the former West Palm Beach mayor’s home county. Deutch’s current, two-county district — which like Frankel’s, runs north-to-south — would instead be contained completely in Palm Beach County.

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Delray Beach, would lose Hendry County from his District 20, in exchange for gaining a larger portion of Broward. The district would continue to include a majority of black voters, but also lose a section that splits six Palm Beach County cities, mostly along the Florida East Coast Railway tracks.

The district held by U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, remains largely unchanged in the proposal before justices.

The Legislature’s failed effort to redraw state Senate boundaries means justices will likely be asked to approve new district lines for that chamber in coming weeks.