The Campaign Spot

Florida State Lawmakers Begin Thinking About District Lines

Florida gains two congressional seats this coming election cycle, which means the state’s district lines will be redrawn. One GOP lawmaker who could have had a hand in the process, state senator Mike Fasano, is taking the high road:

Here’s something you don’t see every day in Tallahassee. State Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, might like to run for Congress next year. Fasano just happened to be a member of the Senate redistricting committee, which will draw the lines for the new districts that will be in place for the 2012 elections. Yet Fasano resigned from the redistricting committee on Monday to avoid the perception that he would help draw a new district to his liking.

The St. Petersburg Times is pleasantly surprised:

If more legislators were as sensitive about appearing to act in their self-interest instead of the public’s, the state capital would be a better place . . .

Fasano could have felt entitled to a little home cooking. Retiring U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite and her chosen successor, former Hernando Sheriff Richard Nugent, conspired to ensure Fasano and others would have no chance to run for her open seat last year. While the redistricting amendments should prevent the most obvious attempts to benefit particular politicians and political parties, Fasano still could have helped himself by serving on the committee that will draw the new lines.

Instead, he chose to do the right thing and resigned. That could strengthen his hand when he pushes ethics reform legislation this spring — and might even win him more votes in a future campaign.

Right now, Fasano represents portions of Citrus, Hernando, Pasco, and Pinellas counties. On the current map of Florida’s congressional districts, that overlaps with the state’s 5th, 9th, and 11th districts.


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