With the advent of “Fair Districts” came Legislative maps less gerrymandered for partisan purposes than in previous cycles. In the House this has produced a map with fewer than 60 safe or likely Republican seats and if the Democrats could ever get their act together they could capture the chamber in the next few cycles. However, the Senate paints an entirely different picture. Don Gaetz and his allies drew a map that was full of incumbent protection and partisan motivated meandering districts- yet the Supreme Court by a 5-2 margin found this map to be constitutional.
In March, a Tampa Bay Times analysis found that the new Senate map had 23 strong Republican seats, 15 strong Democratic seats and 2 swing districts. Our own TPH analysis concurred with those numbers. But the Democrats have failed to field a candidate in one of the strong ‘Democratic seats, SD 22, where Jeff Brandes will be the new Senator. The two “toss-up” seats are Jack Latvala’s SD-20 where the Democrats pose no threat and the open 8th, the only seriously contested Senate seat in the state where the Democrats have recruited the best possible candidate in Volusia County Chairman Frank Bruno.
Additionally, four seats in “strong Democratic” column could very well be represented by Republicans after the election. Darren Soto in the heavily Democratic SD-14 and Gwen Margolis in the almost as heavily Democratic SD-35 have drawn the strongest possible Republican opponents in their districts. SD-14 is a district that Barack Obama got close to 68% of the two-party vote in last Presidential election, but I would expect many ticket splitters as Republican Will McBride is a likable and well respected local attorney.
The most high-profile D vs R race in the state is between incumbents Maria Sachs, a fairly moderate Democrat and Ellyn Bogdanoff, a self proclaimed moderate whose voting record is further to the right than many legislators from the Panhandle and other conservative areas. This race is still very much a “toss-up.”
Full ratings below
|Safe D||Likely D||Leans D||Toss Up||Leans R||Likely R||Safe R|
|SD 12 (Open)||SD 3 (Montford)||SD 14 (Open)||SD 8 (Open)||SD 4 (Open)||SD 1 (Gaetz)|
|SD 19 (Open)||SD 9 (Gibson)||SD 35 (Margolis)||SD 34 (Bogdanoff/Sachs)||SD 7 (Open)||SD 2 (Evers)|
|SD 27 (Open)||SD 25 (Open)||SD 10 (Simmons)||SD 5 (Dean)|
|SD 29 (Ring)||SD 15 (Open)||SD 6 (Thrasher)|
|SD 31 (Smith)||SD 21 (Open)||SD 11 (Hays)|
|SD 33 (Sobel)||SD 24 (Open)||SD 13 (Gardiner)|
|SD 36 (Braynon)||SD 32 (Negron)||SD 16 (Altman)|
|SD 39 (Open)||SD 17 (Open)|
|SD 18 (Open)|
|SD 20 (Latvala)|
|SD 22 (Open)|
|SD 23 (Richter)|
|SD 26 (Open)|
|SD 28 (Open)|
|SD 30 (Benacquisto)|
|SD 37 (Flores)|
|SD 38 (Garcia)|
|SD 40 (Diaz De La Portilla)|