The decision by state Sen. Ron Klein to challenge long-time GOP Rep. Clay Shaw in the east coast-based 22nd district in Florida means that this one-time battleground district could once again see a competitive contest.

After Shaw’s close call in 2000 when he won re-election by just 593 votes Republican line-drawers in the state were committed to shoring up this very marginal seat. They did this by sloughing off heavily Democratic Miami-Dade County and adding more of Palm Beach County. Under the new lines, Republicans have a five-point registration advantage, 40 percent to 35 percent. Democrats had a five-point registration advantage under the old lines. Still, the district is by no means a safe GOP seat. Gore won the district with 52 percent in 2000.

One Florida insider describes Klein as an attractive candidate who dubs himself a “moderate pro-business Democrat.” He also has a base in voter-rich Palm Beach County, which accounted for almost 60 percent of the vote.

Still, Shaw is an excellent campaigner who has shown that he is not afraid to throw a

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