POLITICS
01/05/2012 04:06 pm ET | Updated Jan 05, 2012

2012 Elections: Florida GOP Launches Effort To 'Save' Allen West

Florida Republicans are not at all happy that Rep. Allen West (R-Fl.) was drawn into a Democratic-leaning district, and are now mobilizing to protect the controversial congressman before the state's proposed election map is finalized.

South Florida GOP leaders have spearheaded an effort to make West's 22nd District more friendly for the incumbent. They've launched the website saveallenwest.com, which encourages people to make their concerns heard, and have written an open letter to state lawmakers.

Interestingly, West himself said recently he's happy to run in the divided district. "I've got to go out and I've got to present myself to people," he said at an event Tuesday, the Palm Beach Post reported. West had toyed with the idea of moving to a more Republican-leaning district but decided to stay put, saying he couldn't stand to just hand the district over to Democrats.

Florida's state constitution was amended to forbid gerrymandering -- drawing boundaries for partisan gain or to protect incumbents. GOP leaders are claiming the new map violates a part of the law that requires districts to be compact. (The Miami Herald has some good images of the maps.)

Meanwhile, what you might have missed while watching Iowa and New Hampshire:

In the latest redistricting drama, a federal court overturned West Virginia's congressional redistricting map Tuesday. It ruled the map was unconstitutional because the population count in the various districts was too uneven. The legislature has until Jan. 17 to submit an interim plan or it will be left up to the court.

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) is choosing sides in Ohio's congressional race. Shortly ater redistricting pitted Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) against fellow liberal incumbent Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Grayson threw his support behind Kucinich.

Former Utah State Senator Dan Liljenquist officially announced his bid for U.S. Senate. The Tea Party favorite will challenge incumbent Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch.

The 1st District's special election in Oregon is less than a month away and Democrats aren't slowing down their effort to keep the seat blue. Adding to the $1 million the DCCC has spent, EMILY's List and Planned Parenthood are launching big ad buys attacking Rob Cornilles' (R) record on abortion. The Hill has a piece on the implications of this early congressional race on the rest of the 2012 election.

Auto dealer Bob Thomas backed out of the U.S. Senate race in Indiana, which could be bad news for Sen. Richard Lugar (R). Lugar is considered a vulnerable incumbent and splitting the Tea Party vote in the Republican primary would have helped his chances at securing the nomination.

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