Rep. Allen West will switch districts

Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) will move to run in a compact West Palm Beach district rather than his redrawn Fort Lauderdale district, he announced early Tuesday evening.

West's move was made possible by Rep. Tom Rooney's (R-Fla.) decision earlier in the day to abandon that district, where he lives, in order to run in a newly created district that includes parts of his old one.

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"After much prayer, reflection and discussion with my close friends and family, I am announcing today my decision to seek reelection in Florida's proposed 18th Congressional district," West said in a statement. "I have always believed the state of Florida would be best served by having both Congressman Tom Rooney and myself in the House of Representatives working to solve our nation's most pressing problems. I have never waivered from my vision; to work to create jobs, restrain federal government spending, reduce America's ever increasing national debt, and provide for a strong national defense to ensure a safer and more prosperous future for our children and grandchildren. "

The moves benefit both candidates, assuming the proposed maps withstand impending legal challenges. Rooney moves from a district that became a toss-up in redistricting to one that's safely Republican. That gives West the opportunity to move from a district that had become Democratic-leaning to one where he stands a better chance at reelection.

Florida's redistricting process is a convoluted one that is far from settled. But if the maps hold, these maneuvers could give both candidates their best chance at returning to Congress after next election.