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Florida's 2nd congressional district

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Florida's 2nd congressional district
FL02 115.png
Florida's 2nd congressional district - since January 3, 2017.
U.S. Representative
  Neal Dunn
RPanama City
Area12,871[1] sq mi (33,340 km2)
  • 51.34[2]% urban
  • 48.66% rural
Population (2016)720,418[3]
Median income$48,838[4]
Cook PVIR+18[5]

Florida's 2nd congressional district is a congressional district in the U.S. state of Florida. The district consists of the eastern part of the Florida Panhandle along with much of the Big Bend region along the Emerald Coast. It straddles both the Eastern and Central time zones. It is anchored in Panama City and includes many of the suburbs of Tallahassee, the state capital. With 49% of its residents living in rural areas, it is the least urbanized district in the state, and voters are generally conservative.

The district is represented by Republican Neal Dunn.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ Congressional Elections: Crash Course Government and Politics #6


Hi, I'm Craig and this is Crash Course Government and Politics, and today we're going to talk about what is, if you ask the general public, the most important part of politics: elections. If you ask me, it's hair styles. Look at Martin Van Buren's sideburns, how could he not be elected? Americans are kind of obsessed with elections, I mean when this was being recorded in early 2015, television, news and the internet were already talking about who would be Democrat and Republican candidates for president in 2016. And many of the candidates have unofficially been campaigning for years. I've been campaigning; your grandma's been campaigning. Presidential elections are exciting and you can gamble on them. Is that legal, can you gamble on them, Stan? Anyway, why we're so obsessed with them is a topic for another day. Right now I'm gonna tell you that the fixation on the presidential elections is wrong, but not because the president doesn't matter. No, today we're gonna look at the elections of the people that are supposed to matter the most, Congress. Constitutionally at least, Congress is the most important branch of government because it is the one that is supposed to be the most responsive to the people. One of the main reasons it's so responsive, at least in theory, is the frequency of elections. If a politician has to run for office often, he or she, because unlike the president we have women serving in Congress, kind of has to pay attention to what the constituents want, a little bit, maybe. By now, I'm sure that most of you have memorized the Constitution, so you recognize that despite their importance in the way we discuss politics, elections aren't really a big feature of the Constitution. Except of course for the ridiculously complex electoral college system for choosing the president, which we don't even want to think about for a few episodes. In fact, here's what the Constitution says about Congressional Elections in Article 1 Section 2: "The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states, and the electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislature." So the Constitution does establish that the whole of the house is up for election every 2 years, and 1/3 of the senate is too, but mainly it leaves the scheduling and rules of elections up to the states. The actual rules of elections, like when the polls are open and where they actually are, as well as the registration requirements, are pretty much up to the states, subject to some federal election law. If you really want to know the rules in your state, I'm sure that someone at the Board of Elections, will be happy to explain them to you. Really, you should give them a call; they're very, very lonely. In general though, here's what we can say about American elections. First stating the super obvious, in order to serve in congress, you need to win an election. In the House of Representatives, each election district chooses a single representative, which is why we call them single-member districts. The number of districts is determined by the Census, which happens every 10 years, and which means that elections ending in zeros are super important, for reasons that I'll explain in greater detail in a future episode. It's because of gerrymandering. The Senate is much easier to figure out because both of the state Senators are elected by the entire state. It's as if the state itself were a single district, which is true for states like Wyoming, which are so unpopulated as to have only 1 representative. Sometimes these elections are called at large elections. Before the election ever happens, you need candidates. How candidates are chosen differs from state to state, but usually it has something to do with political parties, although it doesn't have to. Why are things so complicated?! What we can say is that candidates, or at least good candidates, usually have certain characteristics. Sorry America. First off, if you are gonna run for office, you should have an unblemished record, free of, oh I don't know, felony convictions or sex scandals, except maybe in Louisiana or New York. This might lead to some pretty bland candidates or people who are so calculating that they have no skeletons in their closet, but we Americans are a moral people and like our candidates to reflect our ideals rather than our reality. The second characteristic that a candidate must possess is the ability to raise money. Now some candidates are billionaires and can finance their own campaigns. But most billionaires have better things to do: buying yachts, making even more money, building money forts, buying more yachts, so they don't have time to run for office. But most candidates get their money for their campaigns by asking for it. The ability to raise money is key, especially now, because running for office is expensive. Can I get a how expensive is it? "How expensive is it?!" Well, so expensive that the prices of elections continually rises and in 2012 winners of House races spent nearly 2 million each. Senate winners spent more than 10 million. By the time this episode airs, I'm sure the numbers will be much higher like a gajillion billion million. Money is important in winning an election, but even more important, statistically, is already being in Congress. Let's go to the Thought Bubble. The person holding an office who runs for that office again is called the incumbent and has a big advantage over any challenger. This is according to political scientists who, being almost as bad at naming things as historians, refer to this as incumbency advantage. There are a number of reasons why incumbents tend to hold onto their seats in congress, if they want to. The first is that a sitting congressman has a record to run on, which we hope includes some legislative accomplishments, although for the past few Congresses, these don't seem to matter. The record might include case work, which is providing direct services to constituents. This is usually done by congressional staffers and includes things like answering questions about how to get certain government benefits or writing recommendation letters to West Point. Congressmen can also provide jobs to constituents, which is usually a good way to get them to vote for you. These are either government jobs, kind of rare these days, called patronage or indirect employment through government contracts for programs within a Congressman's district. These programs are called earmarks or pork barrel programs, and they are much less common now because Congress has decided not to use them any more, sort of. The second advantage that incumbents have is that they have a record of winning elections, which if you think about it, is pretty obvious. Being a proven winner makes it easier for a congressmen to raise money, which helps them win, and long term incumbents tend to be more powerful in Congress which makes it even easier for them to raise money and win. The Constitution give incumbents one structural advantage too. Each elected congressman is allowed $100,000 and free postage to send out election materials. This is called the franking privilege. It's not so clear how great an advantage this is in the age of the internet, but at least according to the book The Victory Lab, direct mail from candidates can be surprisingly effective. How real is this incumbency advantage? Well if you look at the numbers, it seems pretty darn real. Over the past 60 years, almost 90% of members of The House of Representatives got re-elected. The Senate has been even more volatile, but even at the low point in 1980 more than 50% of sitting senators got to keep their jobs. Thanks, Thought Bubble. You're so great. So those are some of the features of congressional elections. Now, if you'll permit me to get a little politically sciencey, I'd like to try to explain why elections are so important to the way that Congressmen and Senators do their jobs. In 1974, political scientist David Mayhew published a book in which he described something he called "The Electoral Connection." This was the idea that Congressmen were primarily motivated by the desire to get re-elected, which intuitively makes a lot of sense, even though I'm not sure what evidence he had for this conclusion. Used to be able to get away with that kind of thing I guess, clearly David may-not-hew to the rules of evidence, pun [rim shot], high five, no. Anyway Mayhew's research methodology isn't as important as his idea itself because The Electoral Connection provides a frame work for understanding congressman's activities. Mayhew divided representatives' behaviors and activities into three categories. The first is advertising; congressmen work to develop their personal brand so that they are recognizable to voters. Al D'Amato used to be know in New York as Senator Pothole, because he was able to bring home so much pork that he could actually fix New York's streets. Not by filling them with pork, money, its money, remember pork barrel spending? The second activity is credit claiming; Congressmen get things done so that they can say they got them done. A lot of case work and especially pork barrel spending are done in the name of credit claiming. Related to credit claiming, but slightly different, is position taking. This means making a public judgmental statement on something likely to be of interest to voters. Senators can do this through filibusters. Representatives can't filibuster, but they can hold hearings, publicly supporting a hearing is a way of associating yourself with an idea without having to actually try to pass legislation. And of course they can go on the TV, especially on Sunday talk shows. What's a TV, who even watches TV? Now the idea of The Electoral Connection doesn't explain every action a member of Congress takes; sometimes they actually make laws to benefit the public good or maybe solve problems, huh, what an idea! But Mayhew's idea gives us a way of thinking about Congressional activity, an analytical lens that connects what Congressmen actually do with how most of us understand Congressmen, through elections. So the next time you see a Congressmen call for a hearing on a supposed horrible scandal or read about a Senator threatening to filibuster a policy that may have significant popular support, ask yourself, "Is this Representative claiming credit or taking a position, and how will this build their brand?" In other words: what's the electoral connection and how will whatever they're doing help them get elected? This might feel a little cynical, but the reality is Mayhew's thesis often seems to fit with today's politics. Thanks for watching, see you next week. Vote for me; I'm on the TV. I'm not -- I'm on the YouTube. Crash Course: Government and Politics is produced in association with PBS Digital Studios. Support for Crash Course US Government comes from Voqal. Voqal supports nonprofits that use technology and media to advance social equity. Learn more about their mission and initiatives at Crash Course is made by all of these nice people. Thanks for watching. That guy isn't nice.



Florida's 2nd Congressional District is the largest congressional district in Florida by land area and consists of all of Bay, Calhoun, Dixie, Franklin, Gilchrist, Gulf, Jackson, Lafayette, Levy, Liberty, Suwannee, Taylor, Wakulla and Washington counties, and portions of Columbia, Holmes, Jefferson, Leon and Marion counties.

Most of the territory now in the 2nd was the 9th District from 1963 to 1983; it has been the 2nd since 1983. For most of its existence, the 2nd and its predecessors were centered in Tallahassee, the state capital and county seat of Leon County. While the adjacent 1st and 3rd congressional districts had become the most conservative districts in the state by the 1990s, the 2nd District was historically more of a swing district. With a large population of students, government workers and university faculty, Tallahassee was far more liberal than the rest of the district. Democrat Barack Obama received 62 percent of the Leon County vote in the 2008 presidential election, but Republican John McCain received 54 percent of the 2nd district's vote overall.[6] The district had become somewhat friendlier to Republicans when conservative-leaning Panama City was shifted from the 1st District.

The district was significantly redrawn in a court-ordered redistricting that took effect for the 2016 election, following a lawsuit that challenged the district as gerrymandered, preventing African Americans from being able to elect representatives of their choice although they comprised a significant part of the population in the state. Under the new map, most of Tallahassee, along with nearly all of the 2nd's black residents, were drawn into the 5th District.

To make up for the loss in population, the 2nd was shifted slightly to the south to take in territory previously in the nearby 3rd and 11th districts. On paper, the new 2nd was more than 12 points more Republican than its predecessor. Mitt Romney had carried the old 2nd in 2012 although he received only 52 percent of the vote.[7] By comparison, Romney would have carried the new 2nd with 64 percent of the vote in 2012, making it on paper the third-most Republican district in the state.[8]


Election results from statewide races
Year Office Results
1992 President Clinton 42.5 - 37.8%
Senator Graham 70.7 - 29.3%
1994 Senator Mack 68.6 - 31.4%
Governor Chiles 55.9 - 44.1%
1996 President Clinton 47.9 - 41.5%
1998 Senator Graham 70.9 - 29.1%
Governor Bush 52.5 - 47.5%
2000 President Bush 49.2 - 48.4%
Senator Nelson 56.7 - 43.3%
2004 President Bush 54 - 46%
2008 President McCain 54 - 45%
2012 President Romney 52 - 47%
2016 President Trump 66.2 - 30.2%
Senate Rubio 65.8 - 30.5%

Voter registration[9]

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 18, 2016
Party Voters Percentage
Republican 204,440 43.39%
Democratic 183,134 38.86%
No Party Affiliation 71,374 15.14%

List of members representing the district

Representative Party Years Cong
Electoral history
District created March 4, 1875
Walls josiah.jpg

Josiah T. Walls
Republican March 4, 1875 –
April 19, 1876
44th Redistricted from the at-large district.

Lost contested election
Jesse Finley - Brady-Handy.jpg

Jesse J. Finley
Democratic April 19, 1876 –
March 3, 1877
44th Won contested election

Horatio Bisbee Jr.
Republican March 4, 1877 –
February 20, 1879
45th Lost contested election
Jesse Finley - Brady-Handy.jpg

Jesse J. Finley
Democratic February 20, 1879 –
March 3, 1879
45th Won contested election
Noble A Hull.png

Noble A. Hull
Democratic March 4, 1879 –
January 22, 1881
46th Lost contested election

Horatio Bisbee Jr.
Republican January 22, 1881 –
March 3, 1881
46th Won contested election
Jesse Finley - Brady-Handy.jpg

Jesse J. Finley
Democratic March 4, 1881 –
June 1, 1882
47th Lost contested election

Horatio Bisbee Jr.
Republican June 1, 1882 –
March 3, 1885
Won contested election
Charles Dougherty.jpg

Charles Dougherty
Democratic March 4, 1885 –
March 3, 1889
[Data unknown/missing.]

Robert Bullock
Democratic March 4, 1889 –
March 3, 1893
[Data unknown/missing.]
Charles Merian Cooper.jpg

Charles M. Cooper
Democratic March 4, 1893 –
March 3, 1897
[Data unknown/missing.]
Robert Wyche Davis.jpg

Robert W. Davis
Democratic March 4, 1897 –
March 3, 1905
[Data unknown/missing.]
Frank Clark.jpg

Frank Clark
Democratic March 4, 1905 –
March 3, 1925
[Data unknown/missing.]

Robert A. Green
Democratic March 4, 1925 –
January 3, 1943
Redistricted to the at-large district.
Emory H. Price.jpg

Emory H. Price
Democratic January 3, 1943 –
January 3, 1949
[Data unknown/missing.]
Charles E. Bennett.jpg

Charles E. Bennett
Democratic January 3, 1949 –
January 3, 1967
Redistricted to the 3rd district.
Don Fuqua 1961.jpg

Don Fuqua
Democratic January 3, 1967 –
January 3, 1987
Redistricted from the 9th district.
Bill Grant.jpg

James W. Grant
Democratic January 3, 1987 –
February 21, 1989
Lost re-election.
Republican February 21, 1989 –
January 3, 1991

Pete Peterson
Democratic January 3, 1991 –
January 3, 1997
Allen Boyd, official portrait, 111th Congress.jpg

Allen Boyd
Democratic January 3, 1997 –
January 3, 2011
Lost re-election.
Steve Southerland, Official Portrait, 112th Congress.jpg

Steve Southerland
Republican January 3, 2011 –
January 3, 2015
Lost re-election.
Official Congressional Portrait of Gwen Graham (FL-02).jpg

Gwen Graham
Democratic January 3, 2015 –
January 3, 2017
114th Retired.
Neal Dunn 115th Congress photo.jpg

Neal Dunn
Republican January 3, 2017 –

Election results


Florida's 2nd Congressional District Election (2002)
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Allen Boyd* 152,164 67%
Republican Tom McGurk 75,275 33%
Total votes 227,439 100%
Democratic hold


Florida's 2nd Congressional District Election (2004)
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Allen Boyd* 201,577 62%
Republican Bev Kilmer 125,399 38%
Total votes 326,976 100%
Democratic hold


Florida's 2nd Congressional District Election (2006)
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Allen Boyd* 100%
Total votes 100%
Democratic hold


Florida's 2nd Congressional District Election (2008)
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Allen Boyd* 216,804 62%
Republican Mark Mulligan 133,404 38%
No party Others 159 0.05%
Total votes 350,367 100%
Democratic hold


Florida's 2nd Congressional District Election (2010)
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Steve Southerland 136,371 54%
Democratic Allen Boyd* 105,211 41%
Independent Paul Crandall McKain 7,135 3%
Independent Dianne J. Berryhill 5,705 2%
No party Others 16 0%
Total votes 254,438 100%
Republican gain from Democratic


Florida's 2nd Congressional District Election (2012)
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Steve Southerland 175,856 53%
Democratic Alfred Lawson, Jr.* 157,634 47%
No party Floyd Patrick Miller 228 0.01%
Total votes 333,718 100%
Republican hold


Florida's 2nd Congressional District Election, (2014)[10]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Gwen Graham 126,096 50%
Republican Steve Southerland* 123,262 49%
Write-in Luther Lee 422 0.17%
Total votes 249,780 100%
Democratic gain from Republican


Florida's 2nd Congressional District Election (2016)
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Neal Dunn 231,163 67%
Democratic Walter Dartland 102,801 30%
Libertarian Rob Lapham 9,395 3%
No party Others 3 0%
Total votes 343,362 100%
Republican gain from Democratic


Florida's 2nd Congressional District Election (2018)[11]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Neal Dunn 199,335 67.4%
Democratic Bob Rackleff 96,233 32.6%
Total votes 295,568 100%
Republican hold

Living former representatives

As of January 2017, there are six former members of the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida's 2nd congressional district who are currently living at this time.

Representative Term of office Date of birth (and age)
Don Fuqua 1967–1987 (1933-08-20) August 20, 1933 (age 85)
James W. Grant 1987–1991 (1943-09-21) September 21, 1943 (age 75)
Pete Peterson 1991–1997 (1935-06-26) June 26, 1935 (age 83)
Allen Boyd 1997–2011 (1945-06-06) June 6, 1945 (age 73)
Steve Southerland 2011–2015 (1965-10-10) October 10, 1965 (age 53)
Gwen Graham 2015–2017 (1963-01-31) January 31, 1963 (age 56)

Historical district boundaries


  • Martis, Kenneth C. (1989). The Historical Atlas of Political Parties in the United States Congress. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.
  • Martis, Kenneth C. (1982). The Historical Atlas of United States Congressional Districts. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.
  • Congressional Biographical Directory of the United States 1774–present


External links

This page was last edited on 30 April 2019, at 11:00
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