The Campaign Spot

I Find This Concept of Jumping Districts to be Cuban-American Defective

It’s a free country, but the rumored Diaz-Balart–for–Diaz-Balart trade in Florida’s 21st congressional district makes no sense.

To recap, Lincoln Diaz-Balart is retiring, and the Miami Herald reports, “Word is his brother, Mario Diaz-Balart, will run for Lincoln’s seat — a safer Republican district.”

On paper, Mario’s seat is less safe than Lincoln’s, but not by much:

  • Lincoln won in 2008 with 58 percent of the vote; Mario won with 53 percent of the vote.
  • In 2008, McCain carried 51 percent of the vote in Lincoln’s district; 50 percent in Mario’s district.
  • Bush carried 57 percent of the vote in Lincoln’s district in 2004; Bush carried 56 percent in Mario’s district.
  • Lincoln’s district is scored R+5 in the Cook Partisan Voting Index; so is Mario’s.
  • Yes, Lincoln’s 21st district is more compact, a Hialeah-based box west of Miami and Hollywood, Florida, while Mario’s 25th stretches across the southern tip of the state, encompassing much of Miami-Dade, Monroe, and Collier counties. And I suppose it’s easier to campaign and represent a densely populated district close to Miami than one spread out over a large chunk of the Everglades. But when you’ve represented a community for eight years, I think you need a really good reason to say to your constituents, “See you later, I’m off to represent those voters next door.”

    I suppose redistricting could theoretically be a factor, but it’s south Florida and at some point you run out of Democratic votes (or you take too many out of currently Democratic seats). If neither of these guys lost when Obama was bringing out the Democratic vote and winning the state by 200,000 votes, they’re not likely to get knocked off.

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