by WorldTribune Staff, April 14, 2022
A new redistricting map drawn up by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis would give Republicans four new seats in Congress and an overall 20 to 8 advantage in the Sunshine State.
Leaders in Florida’s Republican-led legislature have indicated they would accept whatever redistricting proposal DeSantis sent to them.
The current split is 16 Republicans and 11 Democrats.
The move “is a signal of the power DeSantis wields in the now-Republican-dominated state. Redistricting in Florida may help shape the composition of the U.S. House for at least the next decade,” Politico wrote.
State lawmakers will return to Tallahassee next week for a special session after DeSantis vetoed a congressional map passed during this year’s regular session.
The DeSantis map targets seats held by Democrat Reps. Al Lawson, Charlie Crist, Stephanie Murphy, and potentially Val Demings.
In vetoing the congressional map passed by the state legislature, DeSantis argued that it violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, in part because of District 5. He also raised concerns about how lawmakers interpreted the “Fair Districts” constitutional amendments, which voters passed in 2010 to try to prevent gerrymandering.
District 5 in North Florida has spurred the most controversy, as it was drawn in the past to help elect a black candidate. It is represented by Lawson.
On Tuesday, DeSantis said the district would be redrawn in a “race-neutral manner.”
In targeting Lawson’s district, the new map draws two new Jacksonville-centered districts that were won by President Donald Trump. The map also remakes the Orlando-area central Florida seat now held by Demings.
Senate Reapportionment Chairman Ray Rodrigues found the plan released Wednesday by the governor’s office more than acceptable.
“After thoroughly reviewing the governor’s submission and a discussion with our legal counsel, I have determined that the governor’s map reflects standards the Senate can support,” Rodrigues wrote in a memo to senators.
The DeSantis map drew the ire of notorious Democrat operative Marc Elias.
“If this map is enacted, Florida will be sued,” tweeted Elias.
DeSantis expects a lawsuit.
He told reporters, “You’re gonna have litigation either way. … But I think the odds are higher that a map that is race neutral will be approved. And I think it’s more likely that one that did that kind of intentional drawing would be ruled to violate the 14th Amendment.”
If this 20R-8D FL map passes and withstands court challenges, it could net Republicans four additional seats, entirely wiping out Dems’ national redistricting gains thus far. https://t.co/7MU6BaPrDM
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) April 13, 2022
Florida state Rep. Anthony Sabatini joined Steve Bannon’s War Room on Thursday to discuss the new map, saying “this gets rid of the Democrat advantage in one day.”