Senate Redistricting Chairman Don Gaetz waded deeply into the Senate Leadership fight with a new map that leaves nearly all of the returning senators protected with the exception of Sen. Andy Gardiner and one of his closest allies, Sen. David Simmons.
According to a Herald/Times analysis, the two Orlando-based Republicans would be forced into the same district in the Gaetz plan. Also forced to run against each other or move is Sen. Maria Sachs, a Delray Beach Democrat, who is now in the same district as Sen. Ellyn Bogdnaoff, a Fort Lauderdale Republican.
The Senate leadership wars pit Gardiner against St. Augustine Republican John Thrasher and Stuart Republican Joe Negron for the 2014 Senate presidency. Gaetz is believed to be a Thrasher ally. Download Gaetz map description
Update: Simmons says he will move to Seminole County, denies the map was intended to influence the Senate leadership fight, claims that Thrasher has now conceded to Gardiner, and tells the Herald/Times that "the 2014 Senate presidency race is over." As for the 2016 fight between Sen. Jack Latvala and either Thrasher or Negron, that race is still a hot potato.
Gaetz's map continues to split Okaloosa County horizontally along I-10, except for the
city of Crestview, which is folded into Gaetz' District 3 to the south. He avoids a head-to-head match-up with Sen. Greg Evers', who also lives in Okaloosa County but remains in the District 1 seat that now includes all of Escambia County.
Finally, Palm Beach County is now split into four Senate districts with Bogdanoff and Sachs drawn together in a district that stretches along the coast from Boynton Beach to part of Fort
Lauderdale. Bogdanoff's residence is attached by the shortest of links in the district's southwest corner.
The county's District 27 covers Wellington and The Acreage and juts out to the coast to grab Palm Beach Gardens. Rep. Joe Abruzzo of West Palm Beach has indicated an interest in running for this district or, possibly District 29, which covers central West Palm Beach on the coast.
Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, now gets the northern Palm Beach County city of Jupiter in his Martin county-based district.
Here's the list of incumbents by district in Gaetz' just released map. (Stay tuned here for a complete Herald/Times analysis of the performance of the proposed districts.)
10 Gardiner AND Simmons
32 Bogdanoff AND Sachs
37 Diaz de la Portilla
38 Braynon II
Times researcher Darla Cameron contributed to this report.