Monday, January 30, 2012

Florida GOP trying to force Allen West out of Congress through redistricting?

by Allahpundit

Via Legal Insurrection and our own J.E. Dyer in the Greenroom. According to WaPo, the new congressional map under consideration in Florida’s legislature would make West’s district four points more Democratic than it is now — a tough haul for a guy who lost that district by nine points in 2008 before riding the big red wave to a nine-point win last year. Turns out Will Weatherford, the GOP’s state House redistricting chairman, is also a Mitt Romney fan. Coincidence, or evidence that the Republican establishment is trying to push one of the tea party’s biggest rock stars towards the door? Javier Manjarres of the Shark Tank confronted Weatherford about it last Thursday and was told there’s little that can be done about the map due to legal guidelines about redistricting. But here’s what Manjarres reported back on January 10:

So why would the “most conservative legislature” in Florida’s history look the other way as West’s congressional district lines are re-drawn? Is the fix really in to knock Allen West out of Congress? About five months ago, a very high ranking member of the Florida legislature gave me a very disturbing prediction regarding redistricting- “Allen West is screwed.” Take note that comment was made five months ago, long before the proposed maps were made public…
There is no love lost between the Florida legislature and Congressman Allen West, who has proven to be the anti-Republican establishment congressman. Back in the 2008 election cycle when West unsuccessfully ran for Congress, Republicans in the legislature did not support West. Former indicted Republican Party of Florida Boss Jim Greer and Governor Charlie Crist stayed out of the race until the very end, even after West’s Republican primary race was over…
You may ask yourself why would the Florida GOP legislature not protect one of the most respected and beloved congressman in Washington D.C.? Could the reasons be as simple as sheer arrogance and self-political preservation by the Tallahassee elites?
Follow the link for Manjarres’s theories on motives, not all of which involve establishment animosity towards West. His post this weekend got enough attention that Weatherford felt compelled to post this to his Facebook page this afternoon:
As the House Chairman of Redistricting, I have the responsibility to ensure there is a fair, open, and legally compliant process. The newly approved constitutional amendments, passed by more than 60% of Florida voters, require the legislature to follow a set of standards. This is the first time the legislature has been required to follow these legal standards
These new standards have resulted in disrupting the current districts for incumbents. The Tampa Bay Times stated that the House, Senate, and Congressional maps represent “a record-breaking shakeup in incumbency.” It has been reported that at least 38 members of the Florida legislature do not currently live in their district.
There are rumors that the Florida Legislature has targeted Congressman Allen West. This is patently false. I personally have supported and endorsed Allen West. I will continue to support this extraordinary member of Congress who has brought a much needed conservative voice to Washington, D.C.
However, my personal support cannot and will not trump the Constitution.
As Dyer notes, Tom Rooney’s district is also about to get more Democratic — and, coincidentally, Rooney also happens to be a stalwart conservative. Even so, it’s odd to me that “establishment Republicans” would zero in on West when West has proven to be an effective gap-bridger between “the establishment” and the grassroots at times. Remember when he went to bat for Boehner on the debt-ceiling deal when other tea-party freshmen were balking? It’s true that he’s had harsher things to say about the leadership recently and he’s also clearly not a huge fan of Romney’s, but go back to the Manjarres post I quoted above. This has, allegedly, been in the works for at least five months, dating back to around the time that West was encouraging grassroots conservatives to accept the debt-ceiling compromise. Why hand over a congressional seat held by a guy who’s capable of raising boatloads of money for the party and of reconciling tea partiers to a party apparatus from which they feel disaffected?

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