Draft maps out of the Senate Reapportionment Committee proved less controversial than many anticipated. But there are two members of Congress whose political futures could hinge on choices yet to be made.
Of the four draft maps for Florida’s 28 congressional districts, two largely left districts represented by Reps. Lois Frankel and Ted Deutch intact. But the other two go a different direction, leaving the two long-time Democratic incumbents living in the same district.
Right now, Florida’s 21st Congressional District includes West Palm Beach and runs south on Florida’s coast to Delray Beach. It’s represented today by Frankel, a former West Palm Beach Mayor. Deutch represents Florida’s 22nd Congressional District, which stretches from Boca Raton, where he lives, down to coastal Fort Lauderdale. Both districts reach inland to around the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge.
But two plans in the Florida Senate would reimagine CD 21 and CD 22 as slender, neighboring districts that span greater distances from north to south. CD 21 becomes a complexly inland district stretching from conservative Wellington to liberal Margate. Meanwhile, CD 22 under these drafts would run the coastline from West Palm Beach to the Miami-Dade line.
That likely means a change from two solidly Democratic districts to one that’s deeper blue and another that’s more competitive. The coastal district, and the more attractive to a Democratic incumbent, would be the new CD 22, where both Frankel and Deutch live.
Unlike members of the Florida Legislature, the law does not require members of Congress to live within their district. Of course, those who do not frequently get labeled carpetbaggers from outside the district. In this case, even if Deutch or Frankel runs somewhere they do not live, the district will include territory they have represented for more than a decade.
Deutch first won election to the U.S. House in 2010 in what was then Florida’s 19th Congressional District. Before that, he represented portions of Palm Beach County in the Florida Senate.
Frankel served in the Florida House as Democratic Leader before her election to Mayor of West Palm Beach, and she was elected to Congress in what was then Florida’s 22nd District.