With the final days of the Florida Legislature's special session on redistricting winding down it's becoming clear that it is kind of, sort of, following the expected script.
There have been few unexpected moments _ such as U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown's tussle with reporters about the planned revamp of her district and the sight of U.S. Rep. Dan Webster returning to his old stomping grounds to ask GOP legislators to vote down a proposed map prepared by legislative staff and legislative lawyers.
But as the session reaches its conclusion _ with the anticipation that a final deal on a map will be reached in the next day and a half _ a big parlor game for those in Florida politics is what's going to happen to U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham.
The daughter of former Gov. Bob Graham has widely been seen as a rising star for the beleaguered Florida Democratic Party. Her win last year over GOP incumbent Steve Southerland was one of the few bright spots for the party.
But that could all change.
In order to comply with a court ruling that required Brown's district to be changed the Legislature has settled on a proposal that would split Graham's home base of Leon County in half and shift Democrats in Gadsden County to the district now represented by Brown. The irony is that this proposal was taken from filings made by the groups that sued the Legislature and which was drawn up by Democratic operatives.
While last year was a mid-term year it's important to note that Graham won her current district by less than 3,000 votes.
One analysis points out that President Barack Obama only got 34 percent of the vote in the newly revamped 2nd congressional district as designed by the Legislature. Even though Graham has broken with Democrats in some places _ such as the vote for House Speaker _ it would be hard to fathom her beating a Republican.
Some have speculated that maybe Graham could jump into another contest, maybe even the crowded scramble for U.S. Senate like U.S. Rep. David Jolly did when it became clear that his district would tilt Democratic.
Or maybe Graham bides her time and runs for governor in 2018. Graham noted Wednesday that even House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has recently inquired about her future plans.
But Graham says she isn't thinking like that.
She said she plans to "wait and see" what happens before making a final decision about seeking a second term in office.
And when she talks further Graham sounds like someone who isn't planning to make that decision in the near future. And instead she is a bit optimistic that she may be running for the seat she has now.
"I want to continue to serve," Graham said Wednesday in a phone interview shortly after she completed a workday at Southern Craft Creamery in Marianna. "I'm running under the assumption that I'm running for the seat in which I now serve. I truly love that I have the opportunity to represent North Florida."
Without going into detail, Graham is acknowledging that maybe the battle over redistricting won't be wrapped up anytime soon.
While the Florida Supreme Court gave the Legislature 100 days to draw a new map there is a chance that more litigation could derail everything again. Chief of course among the lawsuits is one filed by recently by Brown that contends the court ruling is leading to changes in the 5th congressional district that would violate federal voting laws. If a judge were to side with Brown it could require the drawing of a fourth congressional map since 2012.
"You never know what is going to happen,'' Graham said. "There's a good chance that everything remains intact for 2016."
Graham, who has avoided the Capitol even though she lives just a few miles east of it, said she believes in the Fair District amendments that created the legal challenge that forced the Legislature to act. Those amendments mandated legislators could not draw districts to favor or disfavor incumbents or a member of a political party.
But she did add, however, that no matter her political future she is opposed to the current Leon County split proposed by legislators.
"It is really a shame for Leon County,'' Graham said. "The whole point of Fair Districts was to keep districts from being gerrymandered. We're taking a district (CD2) that wasn't gerrymandered and turned it into two gerrymandered districts."
That almost sounds like it could be a passage in an amicus brief. And maybe, just maybe, it's premature to write Graham's political obituary.