The intra-party infighting that emerges when the once-a-decade process of reapportionment begins has erupted. In an open letter to members of the Florida legislature's redistricting committees, the top brass of the Broward Republican Party have registered this complaint: your maps don't protect our incumbent -- namely Allen West, one of the two black Republicans in Congress.
They have launched a web site, saveallenwest.com, and are urging fellow GOPers to contact their legislators. The problem, they say, is the maps violate the constitutional requirement of compactness. (The Constitution also prohibits protection of incumbents.) West's current district stretches up the coast from Hollywood to Jupiter to capture the wealthier sections of Broward and Palm Beach Counties, while the new map stretches only up to Palm Beach Gardens and includes swaths of the more Democratic sections of Palm Beach and Broward counties farther from the coast, making the district less stringy and stretched out.
Broward GOP Chairman Richard DeNapoli argues the districts should be stretched and calls for a "compact coastal district."
"What does not make sense is that the 22nd Congressional District includes Plantation and Sunrise but excludes the northern parts of Palm Beach County, which would be a natural political and geographic boundary along the coast for what is mainly a coastal district,'' he writes.
"It seems that all the proposed maps for Congressional 22 make strenuous efforts to include the cities of Plantation and Sunrise at the southern end of the district yet exclude coastal areas of northern Palm Beach County, which would constitute a natural political and geographic boundary."
Here's DeNapoli's e-mail: