Rep. Fentrice Driskell will relocate to the new House District 67 to seek re-election.
The Tampa Democrat told Florida Politics she will follow much of her constituency east to a new seat.
“New Tampa and its surrounding communities have been a strong base. You have to take all factors into account,” Driskell said.
The new state House map put Driskell’s current home in the new House District 66, which she shared with Republican Rep. Traci Koster. That means by changing seats, Driskell will avoid a race against a fellow member of the House.
The move also shifts her from a Republican-leaning seat to a safe Democratic one. While 52% of voters in the new HD 66 voted for Republican Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, 59.25% of voters in HD 67 supported Democrat Joe Biden.
Notably, Driskell is in line for the Democratic Leader-designate role in 2024, and Speaker of the House should the minority party retake the chamber over the next two election cycles. That means had she lost re-election this cycle, it could have created a leadership vacuum within the Democratic caucus in the House.
There is no other incumbent filed in HD 67 right now. While there are four candidates who initially filed for the seat, all are Pinellas County candidates who filed before redistricting, and the district number associated with their candidacy is based on the map used over the prior decade.
The new district does overlap significantly with Driskell’s current House District 63. But all turf west of Interstate 275 lands in the new HD 66. Meanwhile, the new HD 67 reaches further east to U.S. 301, and also reaches to the south to include the community of Thonotosassa.
“I’m very fortunate that the new House District 67 allows the opportunity to continue serving the University of South Florida,” Driskell said. “That has been a great honor for me the past four years.”
But the district sheds a portion immediately south of USF’s main campus, with an area south of Fowler Avenue now included in the new HD 63.