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SRQ Daily Aug 25, 2015

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"If you thought Congressional redistricting was problematic, Senate redistricting will be even more problematic."

- State Rep. Greg Steube, R-Bradenton
 

[Politics]  Statewide Stalemate, Local Consequences
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

A statewide struggle about the shape of Florida’s Congressional districts could have immediare consequences on the Gulf Coast, and that’s before another expected battle regarding state Senate districts has even begun. 

When a special session to address a court ruling on Florida’s redistricting methods came to an abrupt halt on Friday, no consensus had been reached about where political boundaries would be in the 2016 elections. The state House passed a “base line” map that held to boundaries drafted by staff for the House and Senate, while the state Senate made a few changes, notably choosing to leave U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan’s Sarasota-based district largely intact instead of the proposal to move Buchanan’s northern boundaries northward and putting south Sarasota County into a district now represented by U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney. Buchanan, co-chair of Florida’s Congressional delegation, has stated he wants Sarasota County to stay united within a single district.

The stalemate between the House and Senate surprised most political observers in the region. New College associate professor Frank Alcock said he felt certain lawmakers would not end the session without coming up with a consensus map. “I wasn’t sure which map would pass,” he said, “but I was sure they would pick one and no go back home mad at one another.” But in hindsight, the acrimony between the chambers was evident, he said. The regular session this year was adjourned early by the House amid budget disagreements, and senators abruptly closed shop this time with a map still in doubt.

And observers around the state note this dispute sets an ugly stage for another expected session in October, when the topic will be redistricting the state Senate map, an important document for the political prospects of senators seeking re-election and representatives looking for a promotion. “If you thought Congressional redistricting was problematic, Senate redistricting will be even more problematic,” said state Rep. Greg Steube, R-Bradenton. His own future hinges on that process. Steube right now is expected to seek state Sen. Nancy Detert’s Senate seat should she resign as anticipated to run for Sarasota County Commission. But that could change if Steube, who lives in northeast Sarasota County, no longer lives in the district. “I will continue to campaign and fundraise there is a 50/50 shot that I’m in a Senate district where I can run or if I run as an incumbent,” he said. Meanwhile, Republican Party of Sarasota chairman Joe Gruters has raised more than $100,000 to run to succeed Steube should Steube run for Senate.

The process now falls to the Florida Supreme Court, which could look at the Senate and House maps and make a call, or it could completely redraw a map without any input from the Florida Legislature. “This is the first time in history we are dealing with this scenario, mainly because of the redistricting amendment,” said Steube. “This is uncharted territory for all three branches of government.” 

Pictured: House-approved plan for Congressional district lines, splitting Sarasota County into two districts.

[Opening]  Muse Opens at The Ringling

Muse at The Ringling is officially open for lunch and dinner. Muse is located within the John M. McKay Visitors Pavilion at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the space formerly occupied by Treviso. The restaurant is run by Tableseide Restaurant Group, a family-owned and operated restaurant group influenced by over thirty years of restaurant experience and a passion for the world of culinary arts. The group also own’s Libby’s Cafe and Bar and Louis Modern. 

Muse at The Ringling, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, 941-360-7390

[Exec Moves]  Zachos Working With Property Brothers

Brittany Zachos, a former student at Ringling College of Art and Design and a native of Sarasota, announced this summer she will work on the Property Brothers reality television show on HGTV for Season 5. Zachos is the principal designers at Zachos Design Group in Westchester, New York. 

Zachos Design Group

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine and edited by Senior Editor Phil LedererNote: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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