As an outspoken black conservative with a high national profile, Allen West already had a huge national target painted on his back going in to 2012. As part of reapportionment as a result of the 2010 census, Florida gained 2 Congressional seats. Despite that, it appears that the Republican-controlled Florida legislature seems to have somehow managed to make Allen West's seat much more difficult to defend. Via Shark Tank:
Over the past several weeks, many Republicans have voiced their disappointment towards the Republican legislature after the release of the preliminary redistricting maps. Much of the ire concerns the proposed boundaries of Congressman Allen West’s 22nd Congressional District that would be redrawn to include far more registered Democrats.
West’s congressional district inexplicably sheds the most out support as compared to all other incumbent Republican and Democrat Congressman. A few weeks back we quoted an unnamed legislator saying that, “Allen West was screwed”, a statement which was originally made about made five months before the purposed maps were made public, leading insiders to believe that the fix was in against Allen West. But in light of Weatherford’s comment, it is increasingly clear that this is a fait accompli.
According to Weatherford, those preliminary maps will not change- at the most, any additional changes would be minimal, and those changes would not make any appreciable difference from the preliminary maps. In addition, Weatherford stated that a deal was struck between him, Senate President Mike Haridopolos, and Senator Don Gaetz to finalize these maps and push them through as soon as possible. Weatherford also said that the proposed maps are in legal compliance with both the Voting Rights Act and Amendment 6.
So based on Weatherford’s comments, the 22nd Congressional District is now very much in play for the Democrat Party, and West is at an even larger disadvantage than he was previously- it will be a very difficult and expensive seat for Republicans to defend.
The Florida Senate passed their plan on January 17th and the Florida House passed theirs on Friday. I am not really sure what, if any, distinctions exist between the plans with respect to FL-22 (West's district). At this point the maps will be subjected to legal review for compliance with the Voting Rights Act and Amendment 6.
If you live in Florida and are a fan of Allen West, now might be a good time to call your state Representative and Senator to let them know how you feel about any action that would harm his chances of re-election in the fall.