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Congressman Webster says re-election impossible under new map


U.S. Rep. Dan Webster on Tuesday issued strong objections to a proposed redistricting map in the Florida Legislature that he said is an attempt to “eliminate” him from Congress.

Webster, an Orlando Republican and only sitting member of Congress to speak to the Florida Legislature on Tuesday, said he feels his re-election has been “disfavored” in the proposed map, which goes against a state constitutional prohibition against favoring or disfavoring any incumbents.

“The new district 10 changes are so significant it makes that seat impossible to win,” Webster said.

Under the proposed map, heavily-Democratic sections of Orlando would be shifted from a Jacksonville district into Webster’s 10th Congressional District. The result would be a net infusion of at least 66,000 registered Democrats into his district. Webster cited election data that shows President Barack Obama won 61 percent of the area that would be in the proposed 10th Congressional District.

“The new configuration for District 10 makes the seat noncompetitive for anyone in my party, including me,” Webster said.

The Florida Supreme Court ruled earlier this summer that the Florida Legislature had violated the state constitution’s Fair Districts provisions when the drew their maps originally in 2012. The court ordered the Legislature to redraw the districts in time for the 2016 election. The Legislature is set to meet for 12 days to redraw the districts.

Webster joins two other members of Congress who have publicly blasted the proposed maps. U.S. Rep.Corrine Brown, a Jacksonville Democrat who represents some of the areas Webster would acquire, blasted the maps last week during a press conference and vowed to fight them in federal court.

In Sarasota, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, a Republican blasted the proposed maps because they split Sarasota County into two districts. His 16th Congressional district would absorb more than 150,000 residents in southern Hillsborough County.