NRCC adds Kathy Castor, Ted Deutch seats to list of targets

castor deutch
But national Republicans appear to have lost interest in Darren Soto.

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) added two Florida districts Wednesday to its target list for 2022.

National Republicans now aim to upset incumbent Rep. Kathy Castor, a Tampa Democrat, and to flip a district held by retiring Rep. Ted Deutch, a Boca Raton Democrat.

Rep. Tom Emmer, NRCC chair, announced on Wednesday that national Republicans see 72 Democrat-held or newly drawn seats they intend to flip in the midterms. That now includes four seats in Florida held by Democrats.

“Republicans have the message, the candidates, and the resources needed to take back the majority,” Emmer said. “Vulnerable Democrats who chose not to retire will be shown no mercy.”

Deutch’s seat, of note, made the list only after the incumbent did decide to retire. He won’t run for re-election in Florida’s 22nd Congressional District and will instead take a job as CEO of the American Jewish Committee. He first won the seat in a Special Election, succeeding Democratic Rep. Robert Wexler.

Castor, though, is expected to seek a ninth term in the House. She was elected to Congress first in 2006, succeeding Democratic Rep. Jim Davis. She serves in Florida’s 14th Congressional District.

Neither seat has seen much national attention in recent cycles. But Emmer hinted redistricting and a political environment hostile to Democrats will create new opportunities for the GOP to pick up seats across the country. Republicans aim to close Democrats’ current 12-seat majority and regain control of the House.

In addition to CD 14 and CD 22, the NRCC already has listed seats held by retiring Democratic Reps. Stephanie Murphy and Charlie Crist, who represent Florida’s 7th and 13th Congressional Districts respectively, as prime targets in 2022. Crist is running for Governor.

Both of those seats have been battleground races to some degree in the last several election cycles. Crist and Murphy both defeated Republican incumbents in 2016.

Of note, the target list looks to have quietly dropped Rep. Darren Soto. Florida’s 9th Congressional District showed up on a list of targets published in November, but redistricting in Florida appears on track to make that a safer Democratic seat, and the district no longer appears on the NRCC list.

Emmer notes Florida remains one of a handful of states where redistricting remains unresolved. Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed maps passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature on Tuesday, and a Special Session will tackle new cartography in April. But a veto message released by DeSantis’ office did not raise issues with configurations for the Tampa Bay or South Florida districts.

Both seats still lean Democratic under the maps passed by the Legislature.

About 54.46% of voters in proposed CD 14 voted for Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election, with 43.99% favoring Republican Donald Trump. Comparatively, 57.05% of voters in Castor’s existing district went for Biden and 41.5% went to Trump.

In CD 22, 58.39% voted for Biden and just 40.81% picked Trump. Under the current lines, 57.03% went to Biden and 42.19% voted Trump.

But in a more aggressive GOP map proposed by DeSantis’ office, Tampa Bay has one Democratic seat that combines part of Castor and Crist’s districts. Under that map, CD 14 went to Biden with 57.9%, with Trump at 42.1%. CD 22, meanwhile, remains a fairly safe Democratic seat with 57.5% of voters favoring Biden and 42.5% favoring Trump.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


One comment

  • Elizabeth Morowati

    April 12, 2022 at 7:37 am

    Wonderful news. Please support Jay Collins, Republican, to unseat Castor

Comments are closed.


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