Contentious Congressional Rematch in the Works in Florida

AP Photo/Panama City News Herald, Andrew Wardlow
AP Photo/Panama City News Herald, Andrew Wardlow

A second matchup between Democrat Rep. Gwen Graham and former Congressman Steve Southerland (R) could be in the works, as Southerland is strongly considering another run for office in Florida’s 2nd congressional district.

Southerland lost to Graham by the narrowest of margins in 2014, but with the Florida Supreme Court ordering new congressional lines to be drawn after Republicans in the state legislature were caught “fixing” the redistricting maps in 2012, Southerland’s old district is expected to lean “very red.”

“I didn’t ask for this,” Southerland told The News Service of Florida on Tuesday. “I was as surprised as anyone (by the ruling). But when you look at the maps that are floating around — and one in particular that seems to be gaining traction — you know, I represented 80 percent of the land mass that they are proposing in the new Florida (Congressional District) 2.”

Southerland said the Supreme Court ruling gave him “pause.”

“I lost in a very, very tight race, the hottest congressional race in the country,” he said. “I got right at 50 percent of the vote, I’ve got the name recognition and got beat by what the Supreme Court now has said (were) unconstitutional maps. … We’re going to give it prayerful thought and make a decision real soon.”

Graham says she is staying put, even though she may find herself running for re-election in a very different looking district—a true Republican district.

Rep. David Jolly (R) just jumped ship from his congressional district and is running for the U.S. Senate in 2016 for this very same reason.


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