In July 2015 the Florida Supreme Court overturned the boundaries of the state's congressional districts, ruling that "the maps were the product of an unconstitutional political gerrymandering". It expressed its distrust of lawmakers and "provided detailed instructions on how to repair the flawed map in time for the 2016 election."
In 2012, the Legislature drew these districts so that District 14 crossed Tampa Bay from Hillsborough County, splitting Pinellas County and the City of St. Petersburg to include a portion of the black population in southern Pinellas County in District 14. The Challengers contended that the Legislature's configuration of these districts—which 'added more Democratic voters to an already safely Democratic District 14, while ensuring that District 13 was more favorable to the Republican Party'—was directly connected to the trial court's finding that the enacted map was unconstitutionally drawn to favor the Republican Party.
With the future of the boundaries of the district undetermined, the Republican Party may abandon it. This was where (under slightly different boundaries) William C. Cramer was elected to Congress, and he helped build the Republican Party in Florida and the South. He held office from 1954 to 1970. Republican C.W. Bill Young essentially represented the district from 1971 to his death in 2013. But demographics have continued to change, and more recently it has been a swing district. Several Democrats may be interested in running for the seat.
Election officials certified Buchanan as the winner of the race over Jennings by 369 votes. Buchanan was declared the winner after a mandatory recount and analysis of alleged voting machine errors in the race. The primary controversy in this race was that over 18,000 ballots (or roughly one in six) cast in Sarasota County apparently did not register a vote for this race, far higher than in the two previous elections involving Jan Schneider, but lower than the undervote in 2000. Sarasota County voted for Jennings by a six-point margin. Jennings refused to concede the race and pursued administrative and legal challenges to the result, including an appeal for an investigation of the election with the House Administration Committee. Preliminary results from an investigation by Congress's Government Accountability Office concluded that there was no evidence that the voting machines caused the high undervote, but that inadequate testing made it impossible to prove their complete reliability. Sarasota County has since moved to optical scanned paper ballots as a result of a 2006 referendum vote.
According to a statistical study published in 2008, the missing votes were caused by the ballot screen layout. The authors' best estimate on what the result would have been, had this problem not occurred, gave victory to Jennings at a 99.9% confidence level, and a mean margin of victory for her of 639 votes.
The district's seat was vacated following the death of Bill Young. A special election was held on March 11, 2014 to replace him. The election was won by Republican David Jolly with 48.52% of the vote over one-time gubernatorial candidate Democrat Alex Sink's 46.64% and Libertarian candidate Lucas Overby's 4.84%.
See whole Florida state map for 2013, with the 13th district covering
Sumter County, Hernando to Marion County:
h9047_35x42L.pdfCongressional Plan: H000C9047. Chapter No. 2012-2, Laws of Florida.
www.flsenate.gov. February 16, 2012.
See 2013 borders of 13th district in the 2013 districts map:
for the Big Bend region of Florida.
Congressional Plan: H000C9047. Chapter No. 2012-2, Laws of Florida.
www.flsenate.gov. February 2012.