February 2, 2012 8:43AM

Home Is Where the Congressional District Is

During the congressional redistricting season, you could almost get the idea that members of Congress look at the process this way:

1. I am entitled to be in Congress.

2. I need to figure out which constituents deserve to be represented by me.

There have been lots of stories recently about members of Congress declaring that “home is where the congressional district is.” Here’s the latest:

Tea party firebrand Rep. Allen West (R‐​Fla.) announced Tuesday that he will switch districts and run for reelection in Florida’s new 18th district.

West’s 22nd district, which was already Democratic‐​leaning, got even tougher under a new GOP redistricting plan released last week. The new district would have gone about 57 percent for President Obama in the 2008 presidential race.

But Rep. Tom Rooney’s (R‐​Fla.) decision earlier Tuesday to run in the open and Republican‐​leaning 17th district rather than the swing 18th freed West up to make the switch to the neighboring district, which is just north of his current district, which spans from West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale.

“Congressman Rooney is a statesman and has been an honorable public servant to the constituents of Florida’s 16th Congressional district,” West said, referring to Rooney’s current district, which is re‐​numbered from 16 to 18 under the new plan. “It is my goal to continue the success Congressman Rooney has had in Florida’s 16th Congressional district in the newly proposed 18th district.”

Glad that’s working out for everybody. Meanwhile, here are a few other cases:

Pleasanton’s own Rep. Jerry McNerney has looked at the changes coming in California’s soon‐​to‐​be‐​drawn political map and has made a decision: He’s moving east, along with his district, to San Joaquin County.

Where in San Joaquin Co? Uh.….

“When he settles on a place in San Joaquin County we’ll announce the location,” spokesperson Sarah Hersh told us….

“After spending so much time in San Joaquin County, it truly is my home,” McNerney said Thursday. “That’s why I’m planning to move my residence to San Joaquin County and put down even more roots in this community.”

–San Francisco Chronicle, July 28, 2011

With Rep. Grace Napolitano’s decision this week to run in the 32nd district east of Los Angeles, fellow California Democratic Rep. Linda Sánchez announced Thursday that she will run in the newly drawn 38th district….

Had Napolitano not switched, Sánchez could have opted to run in the open 47th district based in Long Beach, which mostly lies outside her current district.

–Roll Call, September 1, 2011

 House hopefuls across the country are busy building their 2012 campaigns — hiring staff, raising money and wooing early support. For some, the only thing missing is a seat to run for.

Call it the ghost district phenomenon: The once‐​a‐​decade drawing of new congressional maps has thrust some candidates into an awkward limbo, with at least a dozen running for seats that don’t yet exist but that will be crafted in the months to come.

— Politico, September 6, 2011