The Florida Senate conducted it's first ever drawing for districts Wednesday complete with bingo-style balls and brass cages, and 14 incumbents won the lottery to extend their terms to 10 years beyond the eight-year term limits -- if voters choose to return them to office. The other 12 senators would get the maximum of eight years as a result of the drawing.
The winners in the extended terms lottery are: Don Gaetz, Bill Montford, Charlie Dean, Steve Oelrich, Thad Altman, Alan Hays, Nancy Detert, Jim Norman, Arthenia Joyner, Andy Gardiner or David Simmons, Jeremy Ring, Gwen Margolis, and Anitere Flores. Oscar Braynon, who was elected in March 2011, is the biggest winner with the potential to serve to a total of 11 years.
The Florida Constitution requires staggered terms for the Senate's 40 members but, in a reapportionment year, every district must have an election, so half the districts get a two-year term and the other half gets four. Those who have already served six year, like Gaetz, Oelrich and Ring, expected to be termed out of office in 2014 but now get two more years. (Oelrich, however, has announced he is running for the newly drawn congressional seat in North Florida so is unlikely to take advantage of the extended time.)
The Florida Supreme Court rejected the Senate's original numbering scheme because it gave nearly every returning incumbent a four-year term, an apparent violation of the new Fair Districts amendments, which forbids lawmakers from intentionally favoring incumbents. That prompted Gaetz to order up the bingo machines and conduct a Lotto-style drawing in the committee room Wednesday.
Here are the results of the drawing: