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Democratic leaders blast Senate maps

Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith and Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich wasted no time criticizing the proposed redistricting maps for congressional and senate districts released by the Republican-led state Senate today.

"Today, Florida Republicans have taken a state - which experts have long considered one of the most malapportioned states in the country - and worsened it,'' Smith said in a statement. "In doing so, they have chosen to thwart the will of 63-percent of Florida voters by proposing maps that are aimed at incumbent protection and partisan advantage - the very things which Florida’s Constitution now prohibits.

“From virtually eliminating the seat currently held by the Democratic Senate leader, to avoiding placing a single Republican incumbent at risk, it is clear the Florida GOP are working overtime to protect their interest ahead of the interest of the people they serve.”

Sen. Nan Rich, the Weston Democrat and Senate Democratic leader, watched her district go from a Broward centric district to a Palm Beach centric district, a product of the fact that she is term limited out of office.

"It does appear there is some incumbent protection going on here,'' Rich said. "One of the standards is to not to allow incumbents to be favored. We’re not suppoed to be talking about political parties and incumbents but, with this map, somebody must have been thining about poltical parties and incumbents."