Musical Chairs in Florida Senate, House Races
Updated at 7:51 p.m.
Hours before the polls were set to close in Florida's GOP presidential primary, the Sunshine State's congressional politics grabbed headlines with a major shakeup that reshapes three House races and affects the GOP Senate race.
The tension caused by the Florida Legislature's congressional redistricting maps sprang loose, as Republican Reps. Allen West and Tom Rooney decided to run for reelection in new districts, prompting Republican Senate hopeful Adam Hasner to move toward running in West's current 22nd District.
Rooney announced on Tuesday afternoon that he will run in the new 17th District, closely followed by West saying that he will run in Rooney's new 18th District.
Though West and Rooney are moving, the new 17th and 18th Districts are not entirely foreign to either. Thirty-seven percent of Rooney's current constituents will fall in the new 17th District while 23 percent of West's constituents will fall into the new 18th.
Rooney's chosen district contains much of the inland South Central region that he currently represents. However, those counties were severed from Rooney's home along the Atlantic coast, in Tequesta, by redistricting -- under Florida's Fair Districts law, legislators had to make congressional districts more compact this year, and Rooney's old district wound from west to east across the state, sometimes through corridors only miles wide. By taking the 17th District, Rooney is sticking with the GOP base of his old seat: The new 17th gave almost 56 percent of its presidential vote to John McCain in 2008.