Redistricting dominoes are starting to fall. State Sen. Steve Oelrich, the Republican former sheriff who first won his Gainesville-based Senate seat in 2006, said that he will seek to run in the proposed Congressional District 6 if, as assumed, Republican Congressman Cliff Stearns chooses the proposed District 26. The newly-created district is based in Stearns' home county of Ocala and includes Republican-rich Marion County as well.
If rumors are accurate, and the Senate's proposed map doesn't get changed significantly in the House, Oelrich is ready to take the leap. From his statement:
"I respect our Congressman, Cliff Stearns, regarding his preferences. Further, I am aware that these district lines may change and shift this spring. My current State Senate district makes up over 63% of the voters in the new Congressional District 6, including seven different counties that lie directly in my State Senate seat (FL SD 14). I know this area well. The largest of these seven counties, Alachua County, is where I live and was elected as the first Republican Sheriff since Reconstruction – and was subsequently reelected three more times serving 14 years."
A bit of analysis: Democrat-heavy Gainesville would be scooped into Congressional District 3, the black majority seat now held by Corrine Brown. The proposed District 6 then moves North through Union, Layfayette, Sumter and Dixie counties, and then east into western Clay County.
According to the Herald/Times review of election data, the proposed District 6 is more than 80 percent white and is dominated by Democrats in voting registration (44 % Dem, 39 percent R and 17 percent independent.) But it performs heavily Republican with McCain winning 59 percent of the vote over Obama in 2008 and Scott winning 55 percent of vote over Sink in 2010. Download Statement from State Senator Steve Oelrich on Redistricting