Bill Galvano to serve as expert consultant on Miami redistricting
On his last day as Senate President, Bill Galvano speaks during the Florida Legislature's Organization Session at the Florida Capitol Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020.

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Former Senate President also oversaw mid-decade state reapportionment thrown out by court.

Former Senate President Bill Galvano will lead Miami through a local redistricting effort and any scrutinized census data.

Galvano just wrapped up his final term in the Florida Legislature after two years as Senate President. He’s now a principal partner at Grimes Galvano, a law firm in Bradenton. A new contract with the city of Miami shows the Republican leader will provide expert consultation to the City Manager’s office. He agreed to contract terms in mid-March.

He’s tasked with helping the city through its once per decade redistricting process after the 2020 Census, which involved balancing populations for five City Commission districts within Miami to ensure proper, proportional representation. That will likely include overseeing public meetings on redistricting and presenting actual redistricting plans to the City Commission for approval.

The city will pay Galvano up to $125,000 over the course of the year, the contract states.

The hire raised some eyebrows since Galvano defended a state redistricting process ultimately thrown out by the Florida Supreme Court. Galvano, in 2015, served as Senate Republican Leader and headed the Senate Committee on Reapportionment during a 2015 Special Session on reapportionment, called after courts determined maps drawn after 2012 violated the Florida Constitution’s Fair Districts.

A final judgment throwing out the maps produced through the 2015 process called out Galvano for leading the effort while also running the Republican Senatorial Campaign, which was committed to maintaining Republican control of the Senate. The Reapportionment committee under Galvano ultimately chose “one of the best Republican-performing plans among the base maps and only paired one set of Republican incumbents in the district.”

As it happens, one of those incumbents was Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla, now a Miami Commissioner who recommended Galvano for the redistricting job, according to the Miami Herald. Ultimately, de la Portilla lost under different Supreme Court-approved maps, produced by groups challenging the redistricting process, in a close race to Democrat Jose Javier Rodriguez, who lost reelection this year.

Of course, the process also means Galvano has extensive experience both in the synthesis of political boundaries and the legal defense of maps.

While the city races in Miami are technically nonpartisan, the redistricting process still holds potential to become extremely political, as has happened in other jurisdictions.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


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