Today, the City Council campaign of Dr. David McKalip announced that he had found a way to overcome city government’s attempts to redraw the electoral map to protect incumbents and freeze other candidates out of the race. Both he and possible opponent Darden Rice had been affected by the proposed “plan 7” map of the St. Petersburg redistricting commission. Each has announced their intentions publicly to establish a residence in the new proposed district four to remain eligible as candidates. This week, Dr. McKalip established a residence in the new district and has signed a Real Estate contract to sell his home that is in the current district four. Dr. McKalip obtained verification from assistant City attorney Mark Winn that candidates can qualify for office by ensuring they have continuous residence in the old and the new district over 12 months prior to the primary.
Dr. McKalip’s press release is re-printed below. His campaign manager is scheduled to appear before the St. Petersburg City Council on March 7 to advocate that the council reject the proposed map unanimously. He will indicate that the commission was never informed that incumbents could remain in their seats simply by changing their residence into the new district, just as Dr. McKalip and Darden Rice will be doing. He will also advise them that the maps were drawn with the first priority of protecting incumbents and the legal requirement to make the maps “compact” was ignored to ensure the protection of incumbents.
Dr. McKalip has retained an attorney and is considering legal action to challenge the maps in court.
McKalip campaign press release:
Dr. McKalip Overcomes Redistricting Designed to Protect Incumbents.
Dr. McKalip continues to run for St. Petersburg City Council, District 4 despite invalid redistricting map.
St. Petersburg, FL – St. Petersburg Neurosurgeon and City Council Candidate, Dr. David McKalip, today established a residence in the new proposed district four of St. Petersburg, continuing his run for the seat. The district maps have recently been redrawn to protect incumbents while ignoring the more important legal requirement that the districts be compact. The move comes after the Redistricting commission redrew the maps based on the expressed instructions of the city staff and legal department to draw the maps so that incumbents would not be impacted. This despite a legal opinion of the City attorney that candidates could move from the old district into the new district and still be eligible to remain in office and run again.
Dr. McKalip observed: “The citizens of St. Petersburg approved the new redistricting commission on the basis that it would prevent incumbents from protecting their own seats. However this process is geared primarily to protecting incumbent politicians. The citizens deserve better.”
Dr. McKalip plans to express his concerns to the City Council when they consider the new maps for the first time officially on March 7. Dr. McKalip has also retained an attorney to evaluate legal options and is considering pursuing the matter in court. Dr. McKalip continued:
“This flawed process illustrates why I am running for city council. For too long, the powers that be have tilted the system in their favor, while ignoring the impact on the citizens they have always been expected to serve. In this case, the politicians are serving themselves first again, at the expense of the citizens”.