It's tough getting elected as a Republican in the People's Republic of Broward County, one of the bluest stretches of Florida's political real estate. Still, US Rep. Allen West pulled it off in 2010, when he bested Rep. Ron Klein.
But now it the Florida Senate's proposed map for Congressional seats indicate it could be even tougher for the tea-party favorite to win District 22. The proposed district is 4 percent more Democratic than it currently is.
And that could be bad news for Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta.
"Allen's strongly considering making a move," said a highly placed source affiliated with West's camp. "It's not a big move, just a few miles away."
West's best move -- running for U.S. Senate -- still appears to be off the table. But West gave it a second thought recently, another source said. And he could jump in that race, though it's less likely.
All this talk is both premature and potentially too late. On one hand, the Legislature has yet to meet to sign off on the plans. And the Florida House hasn't even proposed its own version. But, sources in the Legislature tell us that the House is more inclined to adopt major portions of the Senate's Congressional map. So West needs to start making noise now, in part because legislators will have to decide whether to help him. Rooney has a key connection in the Legislature: uber-lobbyist and political fundraiser Brian Ballard, who has represented the gambling interests of the representative's family for years.
Two new state Constitutional amendments, though, make any help tougher for any candidate because they ban legislators from intentionally favoring or disfavoring incumbents or political parties. But miraculously, the Senate's plans just happen to favor Republicans overall. So the help is possible, if not coincidental. Read here for more on that.
There's a little bit of history in this possible move by West.
In 2002, the last time the Legislature draw its maps, the Legislature initially tried to protect D-22 incumbent Clay Shaw by taking Republicans away from D-16 incumbent Mark Foley. Foley's camp said it was a "recipe for a primary." And the Legislature backed off the proposal (Shaw went on to lose to Flein, and Foley went on to resign his seat in the so-called "page-turner" sex scandal.