10 Big Questions Facing Florida Politics in the Wake of the Redistricting Decision

As has been widely reported, the Florida Supreme Court ruled last week that the state’s congressional maps don’t meet the requirements of a voter-approved constitutional amendment that prohibits political lines from being drawn to favor incumbents or a political party. The court ordered the Legislature to try drawing the maps again.

Here are 10 big questions looming over Florida politics in the wake of the court’s redistricting decision.

Among the questions:

So Jolly for the U.S. Senate?

Yes. There’s probably a 90 percent chance of him running. Although his camp says he’s still only at the “seriously considering” phase, he’s also locked up his major donors for a Senate bid.

(For the hardcore political junkies, think about how exciting the invisible primary on the GOP side of the U.S. Senate race is: If Jolly does enter the U.S. race, you will have the Pat Bainter/Data Targeting/Marc Reichelderfer/Sarah Bascom/Adam Goodman juggernaut on his side versus the On Message team, which guided Rick Scott to re-election and will likely help prospective candidate Jeff Miller versus John Konkus, and Jamestown Associates ((helping Ron DeSantis)) versus Rick Wilson, who is allied with Carlos Lopez Cantera.)

And Charlie Crist is in?

Redrawing CD 13 as the Supreme Court envisions turns a seat that has been held by the GOP for four decades into a lay-up for the Democrats. As POLITICO’s Marc Caputo reports, Crist won 81-15 percent over Rick Scott in the Pinellas County corner that CD 13 will likely get from CD 14. And while the number of votes cast in that corner amounts to just 12 percent of the votes cast in CD 13, Crist’s win margin over Scott in those mostly African American precincts was bigger than his overall margin in all of CD 13. In other words, the mountain is coming to Mohammed.

So Crist would be crazy not to run, right? Doesn’t he want to return to public office? Caputo is the one really driving the train on this story and there’s no doubt he has well-placed sources telling him that Crist is thinking about running. However, at the end of the day, I do not think Crist pulls the trigger.

For one, I know Crist longs to return to the Governor’s Mansion. If he runs for Congress — even if he wins — he can’t turn around in 2018 and run for governor. Bob Buckhorn would have a field day. So, too, would the Florida GOP. Crist can get away with a lot, but not that. Second, serving in Congress is a young man’s (or woman’s) game. It’s about seniority. Of course no one expects Crist to go to Washington and do much of anything, except prepare for when Bill Nelson retires, but even Crist’s ambition is made of sterner stuff. Third, Charlie Crist in D.C. during the winter? Maybe for the White House Christmas party, but for extended period of time? Puh-leeze.

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