Manatee County Republicans are joining Rep. Vern Buchanan in singing the praises for a proposed Congressional redistricting map moving its way through the Florida Legislature.
Ninety-six percent of proposed 16th Congressional District is the same as the 13th Congressional District that Buchanan, R-Sarasota, has represented in the U.S. House since 2007. In his last re-election in 2010, Buchanan won with 69 percent of the vote.
Under the proposal, sparsely population sections of East Manatee would be included in a new central Florida District, but the 16th -- dubbed by Buchanan as "Sweet 16" -- would be made up of the heart of Manatee and Sarasota counties. An earlier proposal adopted by the Florida Senate would have placed Parrish, Lakewood Ranch and other neighborhoods east of Interstate 75 into the new district.
"While we regret losing a portion of eastern Manatee County to a newly created district, we like the fact that the new District 16 is basically the same district Vern has been representing for the past five years," said Kathleen King, chairwoman of the Manatee County GOP.
While the new district may lean slightly more Republican than his current district, Buchanan stands to face perhaps his toughest re-election battle yet.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has targeted the race, singling out Democratic challenger Keith Fitzgerald for fund-raising and other support as part of its campaign to regain majority control of the U.S. House.