Gov. DeSantis’ office offers a proposed congressional redistricting map
Ron DeSantis weighs in.

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General Counsel Ryan Newman submitted a map on Sunday.

Gov. Ron DeSantis just joined Florida’s redistricting fray.

Ryan Newman, the Governor’s General Counsel, submitted his own proposal for a congressional map in Florida Sunday night. The draft (P 0079) was submitted days after the Florida Senate Reapportionment Committee advanced to the floor its own plan (S 8040) for how to divide Florida into 28 congressional districts.

While legislative maps for the House and Senate will be approved without the Governor’s involvement, DeSantis will have the opportunity to sign or veto a congressional map. Of note, DeSantis also served in the U.S. House before his election as Governor.

An analysis by Dave’s Redistricting shows the map produces 18 districts with a Republican lean and 10 with a Democratic one. By contrast, the Senate map has 16 districts where Republican Donald Trump won the most votes for President in 2020, and 12 where Democrat Joe Biden won.

The plan from Newman differs in other significant ways from the Senate plan, or either of two plans published thus far by the House Redistricting Committee (H 8001, H 8003).

Most noticeably, there seems to be no district analogous to Florida’s 5th Congressional District, the region represented by Rep. Al Lawson, a Tallahassee Democrat. Under its current configuration, the district spans much of the state’s northern border from Tallahassee to the Jacksonville area.

The current plan was implemented by the Florida Supreme Court in a 2015 decision. While population differences since the decision mean any new map will likely differ substantially, a district similar to Lawson’s appears on every draft congressional map produced thus far by House or Senate staff. That’s not a huge surprise, as the district is considered to be a Tier 1-protected minority access district, and the Voting Rights Act forbids any diminishment of minority voters’ ability to elect a candidate of their choosing.

In addition to effectively eliminating Lawson’s district, the Governor’s Office map has no district in North Florida where Black residents make up more than 40% of the voting-age population. The closest is the proposed Florida’s 3rd Congressional District in the Jacksonville area where Blacks make up 30.75% of the electorate. That’s compared to 45.24% in the existing CD 5 and 42.8% in the Senate proposal.

The map also effectively erases a district represented by Rep. Stephanie Murphy, a Winter Park Democrat. That move is similar to one of the House proposals. Murphy recently announced she would not seek re-election.

Republican Anthony Sabatini, who had filed to run against Murphy, seemed to greet this map with some enthusiasm. “A NEW Congressional map just released tonight from Gov. DeSantis’ Office. District numbers all change under this proposal — I would be running in ‘District 6’ (which is ‘District 7’ with a new #),” he tweeted shortly after the maps were published.

Some GOP leaders cheered DeSantis jumping into the process. Many national Republicans hoped the Legislature would produce a more aggressive map improving Republican numbers regardless of the Fair Districts provisions in the state constitution.

Gov. Ron DeSantis off the bench and into the game to make it interesting,” said Christian Ziegler, vice-chair of the Republican Party of Florida. “FACT >> I had a ton of people come up to me at the Trump Rally in Arizona asking about Florida’s congressional maps and if DeSantis was going to get involved. Twenty-four hours later, looks like we have an answer.

But the dramatically different approach with minority districts left some critics questioning if the map should even be taken seriously.

“DeSantis wants to appear he’s still the MAGA boy, so he’s proposed a map that is purposely ridiculous — namely destroying minority seats,” tweeted Matt Isbell, a Democratic consultant who has closely followed the redistricting process. “So this is just a stunt. Feel free to obsess over it. But I recommend ignoring.”

In another controversial move, the Newman map dramatically reshapes Tampa Bay’s political makeup.

Right now, Florida’s 13th Congressional District — represented by U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, a St. Petersburg Democrat — is contained entirely within Pinellas County. But the proposal from the Governor’s Office turns the district into one that spans Tampa Bay. Crist also is not seeking re-election, and instead is challenging DeSantis for Governor.

The Senate draft map, which for the most part has drawn praise from third-party watchdogs like the Princeton Gerrymandering Project, has garnered complaints about the same region. Critics have bemoaned that Florida’s 14th Congressional District — represented now by Rep. Kathy Castor, a Tampa Democrat — shifts to the west under that plan and covers parts of Hillsborough and Pinellas County. The Newman map, though, shifts the other way, with a north and south Pinellas district reaching across the county line and taking on Hillsborough turf.

Florida is being awarded a 28th congressional district, as the result of its population growth. While the Senate map clearly places that new district in Central Florida, the Governor’s map places it in Republican-rich Southwest Florida. It does this by remaking Florida’s 19th Congressional District, which now hugs the coast and spans parts of Lee and Collier counties, and instead puts all of Lee County into a single district and includes just a portion of Collier to fill out the population.

Meanwhile, the draft map makes Florida’s 26th Congressional District one that includes the Collier population centers around Naples and Marco Island, and then spans far east to sweep up parts of Broward and Miami-Dade County, reaching as far southeast as Hialeah.

This notably puts Reps. Byron Donalds, a Naples Republican, and Mario-Diaz-Balart, a Hialeah Republican, in the same district.

There is no requirement for members of Congress to live in the districts they represent.

The proposal out of DeSantis’ office significantly reshapes the district formerly represented by the late Rep. Alcee Hastings. Hastings’ successor, Democrat Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, just won a Special Election and is awaiting its certification to take office.

But unlike Lawson’s district, the Newman map has significant Black representation in the proposed Florida’s 23rd Congressional District. Black residents make up 42.01% of the voting age population there. By comparison, the analogous proposed Florida’s 20th Congressional District on the Senate committee-advanced map has 48.54% of its adult population listed as Black.

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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]


23 comments

  • Alex

    January 17, 2022 at 7:02 am

    Lol

    DeDespot has to get his sociopathic imprint on everything.

  • Impeach Biden

    January 17, 2022 at 7:39 am

    Now if that drug popping, getting freaky with the male prostitutes was Governor it would be just fine with many on this board if he changed the district maps. As James Carville said yesterday, Democrats are whiny if they don’t get their way. Whine on. 😜

    • Alex

      January 17, 2022 at 8:38 am

      Except for that little problem of a constitutional amendment requiring fairly drawn districts the voters of Florida approved, but we already know Republicans will try to cheat us, because they’ve done it in virtually every amendment consistently.

      Oh, and I’m quite sure the US Justice Department will take a good hard look at whatever they try to pass off as fair, because they’ve had to get involved so many times in the past.

      Last time Florida redrew, it took more than 5 years of lawsuits and cost Florida and the US taxpayers multiple millions to fix it.

      • zhombre

        January 17, 2022 at 8:45 am

        Loser!

        • Alex

          January 17, 2022 at 8:50 am

          I have 2 little puppies following me around.

          Such cute little fellows when they bark.

          • Impeach Biden

            January 17, 2022 at 11:19 am

            Alex, are you stalking me? I didn’t respond to you, I responded on a separate line. Woof! Woof!

          • Alex

            January 17, 2022 at 12:59 pm

            Lol

            Notice I respond with comments directly relative to the subject of the article, while all you do is spew childish schoolboy insults because you’re a know-nothing.

  • vekigi1

    January 17, 2022 at 8:17 am

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    January 17, 2022 at 8:18 am

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  • Michael Paris

    January 17, 2022 at 8:56 am

    Al Lawson has been on the government nipple for decades and his constituents have nothing to show for it. He has abided by deep corruption and sexism at FAMU. He is part of that Rattler mafia that thinks they are above scrutiny or the law. Buh bye.

    • Elijah Bell

      January 17, 2022 at 10:22 am

      Agree Michael. I keep a watchful eye on Florida politics and never see Big Al out fron on national TV advocating for the American people much less his district.

  • Kathy

    January 17, 2022 at 11:05 am

    Dear “Impeach Biden”, I am tired of this crap and I am an embarrassed Republican. I am “represented” by Scott, Rubio and Steube, in essence, I have no representation. Fairness to constituents plays nowhere into this decision. Just like the marijuana and felons getting voting rights back, even if “we the people” were allowed any say, Desantis would change the bill to most benefit himself. We are losing our voices more each day.

    • Jonathan Hurley

      January 17, 2022 at 9:31 pm

      Dear “Kathy”, I am tired of this crap as well. I am a frustrated, disappointed, humiliated Democrat. I am “represented” nationally by Biden, and in essence, have no representation.
      Fairness and justice are gone.
      Thank God for Governor and future President Desantis.

  • Jocko Homo

    January 17, 2022 at 11:22 am

    Did he draw the map in crayon or the blood of anti-vaxxers?

  • BrighterDays

    January 17, 2022 at 12:19 pm

    First of all, there is NO SUCH THING as a Democratic Party or a Democratic Representative. There is, however, a Democrat Party and a Democrat Representative.

    Remember, Florida is redistricting because of a population boom. A boom caused by communist lock-down governors, mostly from the Democrat party. Registered Republicans now outnumber registered Democrats.

    As far as redistricting fairness by race, last I looked at Census, the black population was no where over 40% in any Florida county. Jacob Ogles is a spin doctor. Be warned. Again.

    • BrighterDaysIsDumb

      January 17, 2022 at 5:14 pm

      There is, indeed, a such thing called a “Democratic Party”, as that’s the full name of the the Democratic Party of the United States.

      • BrighterDays

        January 18, 2022 at 8:08 am

        That’s all you got? Mud slinging at a party name?
        Not only was Obama the world’s best firearm sales person, the communist lock-down governors are the best Republican recruiters.

        • DrJake

          January 18, 2022 at 10:44 am

          You need to talk to a doctor for help with your apparent mental issue.

  • Alex

    January 17, 2022 at 2:00 pm

    I didn’t read past the lies in the first paragraph.

  • Matthew Lusk

    January 19, 2022 at 1:03 pm

    I have light green eyes, a minority. Why only skin color and not eye color. Present law is racist and that’s how contorted district five came about. Also there were many in both sides thinking they were getting the “better” deal. Oneside thought a guaranteed racist in our favor, the other side thought only one and the remainder is stronger for us. Hopefully this dinosaur racial hatred will end with the election of candidates who love every human God created. We need each other to succeed in America. The DeSantis map is clearly superior because it uses compact geography and doesn’t respect skin color or eye color or a host of special demands. God blesses those who are even handed with rule. DeSantis is an awesome governor so far.

  • It's Complicated

    January 20, 2022 at 2:55 pm

    On its face, the map produced by the Governor’s Office is clearly less ‘demographically designed,’ and more consistent with the FAIR Districts Amendment than the existing map. To say otherwise is not being intellectually honest. HOWEVER, the existing Congressional district map was intentionally designed to create minority access districts, while fixing the clearly illegal district Corrine Brown used to represent which snaked through minority neighborhoods from Jax to Orlando. You can’t really have it both ways.

    • It's Complicated

      January 20, 2022 at 3:03 pm

      Also remember that the Democratic Party used proxy groups to get the FAIR Districts Amendment passed. Clearly they had not thought it through, because there is NO WAY the elements of FAIR Districts help them regain control of the legislature.

Comments are closed.


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