Florida House offers first drafts of reapportioned state House districts

FLORDIA REDISTRICTING (10)
These maps look better for Democrats than Congressional ones released earlier in the day.

While proposed maps from the Florida House could mean gains for Republicans in Congress, state House proposals concede territory to Democrats.

A snap analysis by MCI Maps founder Matt Isbell of partisan performance for 120 proposed House districts on each map shows more jurisdictions won by President Joe Biden in November than there are Democrats in the Florida House. Of course, that’s partly because many Biden districts elected Republicans to the state House, a sign redistricting is hardly destiny.

Still, an analysis of one of two maps based on who voters favored in November’s presidential election shows Democrats should gain ground in the Florida House. One map includes 70 districts won by Republican Donald Trump in November’s presidential election and 50 won by Biden. The other has 58 Trump districts and 52 where Biden was the preferred candidate.

By comparison, Republicans enjoy a 78-42 majority in the House today. But 73 existing House districts went to Republican Donald Trump while 47 went for Biden, showing Republican candidates as a group outperformed Democratic ones in races across the state.

But Isbell, a consultant who has worked with the Florida Democratic Party, hints the ability for Democrats to gain seats doesn’t mean the maps are definitively fair.

“The first state house plan gives democrats concessions in places like Orlando, but short-circuits Dems in Tampa and cracks Tallahassee in three seats!.. Draw your own conclusions,” he tweeted. “The second state house plan has two more Biden districts than plan H005… Less cracking. Still issues in Jacksonville and Tampa.”

Neither map gives great hope for Democrats to win a majority in the Florida House, a chamber Republicans secured in 1998 after more than a century in the minority.

The plans differ significantly regardless of partisan performance or which party wins the next election cycle.

One map does leave Tallahassee included in two state House districts, similar to its make-up today. There are substantial differences between the two drafts on how each major metropolitan area of the state gets divided.

With 120 districts, the ideal population for one comes in at 179,485 people based on the 2020 Census. That means the maps will have smaller pieces than any approved by the Florida Legislature in the once-a-decade redistricting process.

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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