Florida 19th District
When the first millionaires came to Palm Beach in the 1920s to winter in their new Addison Mizner pseudo-Mediterranean mansions, there was virtually nothing man-made between Palm Beach and Miami. In 1920, Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties boasted a mere 66,000 residents. In 2008, 5.4 million people lived in the five- to 20-mile strip between the Atlantic Ocean and the protected Everglades. The contrast between then and now is especially striking in Boca Raton, where Mizner built the Boca Raton Resort & Club in 1926. Its azure fountains and red-tiled roofs, its pseudo-Moorish columns and pink stucco walls bespeak a vision of a holiday Florida, a bit mannered and antique to today’s eye, but still exuberant and benefiting from tasteful refurbishing. The coast from Boca Raton to Palm Beach is fully built up, and over the past 20 years, the area has become home to one of the nation’s largest Jewish populations. There are the “condo commandos,” the political activists among elderly Jewish retirees from New York and the Northeast, but also young families and middle-aged businessmen. However, since 2005, growth here has stalled, and the area has been hit by many foreclosures and a loss in construction jobs.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 19th Congressional District of Florida includes Palm Beach and Broward counties. It does not touch the ocean at all, kept inland by the 22nd and 23rd districts. The boundaries of the 19th District are irregular, obviously drawn with an eye to political advantage. The Republicans who controlled the redistricting process were happy to pack heavily Democratic precincts into the 19th. It extends north from Fort Lauderdale to Okeechobee Boulevard in unglamorous but booming West Palm Beach. The district also takes in Margate, Mission Bay, most of Boca Raton, and parts of Boynton Beach and Delray Beach. The district’s Jewish percentage is the one of the largest among the 435 congressional districts. A lot of people here are still voting for the party of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the 19th is solidly Democratic, although neither John Kerry nor Barack Obama was able to duplicate the 73% of the vote that the ticket of Al Gore and Joe Lieberman received here in 2000.