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U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-District 6) has qualified by petition for the congressional ballot for the 2012 elections. Candidates have until May 7, 2012, to submit petitions. “I am so very grateful for this overwhelming demonstration of support from the people of north central Florida who signed on to my petition effort so quickly,” said Stearns. “I’m honored to be the first congressional candidate in Florida to qualify by petition; gaining this much grassroots support so early in the process across eight counties is very encouraging given the ongoing redistricting process in Tallahassee.”
In a year of apportionment, petitions do not include a district number, allowing Stearns to file now and choose which congressional district he will seek once a new congressional map is adopted.
Under a proposed redistricting plan made public by the Florida Senate committee on redistricting Stearns' Ocala residence would be located in the newly created 26th Congressional District.
But there is no requirement that members of Congress actually reside in the district they represent, so Stearns could choose to seek re-election to the realigned 6th District which stretches from Duval to Levy counties or in the new 26th District, or another district.
The state House redistricting committee was to unveil its maps on Tuesday, close to press time.