Draft maps re-envisioning the Florida Senate landscape are already bringing political consequences.
Sen. Tina Polsky, a Boca Raton Democrat, announced Friday she will likely run in the reimagined Senate District 34 and leave Senate District 29 behind. She was one of three incumbent Senators seeking reelection whose home was drawn out of their own Senate districts. Incidentally, she lives in a community that would be in Senate District 31, represented by Sen. Lori Berman, a Democrat and ally. But she is running for Farmer’s seat.
“If the plan remains the way it is, I continue to be excited to represent Palm Beach and Broward counties — more of Broward in this configuration,” she said. “I have great relationships with the cities and the constituents there.”
But this puts her running in the same district as Sen. Gary Farmer, a Lighthouse Point Democrat.
For Polsky’s part, she hopes more changes to the maps are underway and that a primary could be avoided. She has concerns about how the draft maps divide Boca Raton into two Senate districts.
“I think it’s better for Boca to be kept whole,” she said. “It belongs in 34. Also, living in this area, Boca Raton, Parkland and Coconut Creek blend together even though they are in Broward and Palm Beach counties.”
She hopes to see matters rectified as the process continues.
It seems a safe bet whoever becomes the Democratic nominee in SD 34 will be the districts’ Senator next term. An analysis of four Senate draft proposals by MCI Maps shows between 55% and 60% of voters in any of the iterations of the district voted for Democrat Joe Biden over Republican Donald Trump.
As for a primary battle, the staff drafts take densely populated areas of Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood represented by Farmer now and puts them in Senate District 38, represented by Sen. Jason Pizzo, a Miami Democrat. The draft vision for SD 34 would include Pompano Beach, as it does now. But some of the coastal communities represented by Polsky follow her from the existing SD 29 to a reimagined SD 34.
Notably, one draft map puts Farmer into Pizzo’s SD 38, but most leave him in SD 34.
Polsky noted she’s currently renting an apartment, so a shift in residence isn’t an enormous burden for her. But she has represented portions of Boca Raton for years and plans to continue doing so.
She has a concern beyond her own ambitions in the draft maps. All proposals shift representation in Glades communities like Belle Glade into a new configuration for SD 29 that stretch north to coastal communities in Jupiter. She fears it will be easy for the Glades to be “forgotten” by a Senator representing an area with its core population base north of West Palm Beach.
Notably, Sen. Gayle Harrell, a Stuart Republican, lives in the newly drawn SD 29. The MCI Analysis shows nearly 55% of voters there in November supported Trump, so it’s a relatively safe Republican seat. That means this move could also mean Harrell, whose own Senate District 25 was redrawn in drafts to exclude Martin County and move west into the Florida Heartland, has a home district again with no other Senator running.