Chris Sprowls defends Ron DeSantis involvement in congressional redistricting

Sprowls, Chris
House members canceled meetings this week to craft their own map.

House Speaker Chris Sprowls is welcoming the Governor’s intervention in the congressional redistricting process. He brushed off concerns raised at a Wednesday press gaggle that Gov. Ron DeSantis may end up delaying approval of a congressional map for 28 U.S. House seats in Florida.

“I don’t think it’s disruptive at all,” Sprowls said. “There’s a lingering legal question on the part of the Governor. He’s exercised his constitutional authority under the constitution to ask for an advisory opinion from the court.”

DeSantis on Tuesday filed a request with the Florida Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of Florida’s 5th Congressional District under its current configuration. That prompted the House Congressional Redistricting Subcommittee to cancel a meeting this week and apparently delayed the release of a new draft map from House staffers.

Sprowls expects the court to respond quickly to the Governor’s query.

“We expect the court understands our timeframe and the fact we have a timetable here that we want to meet,” Sprowls said. “I expect they are going to act quickly one way or the other. Either they are going to say they aren’t going to answer the question, or they are going to answer and they will provide us that answer timely.”

Rep. Tom Leek, House Redistricting Committee chair, has stressed the importance of passing maps early. The House approved a legislative map Wednesday. Once the Legislature approves a congressional map, it goes to the Governor for a signature or veto, and then to the state Supreme Court for a high-level judicial review to complete within 30 days. Leek has said passing a map in the first half of Session guarantees lawmakers could address any concerns raised before Sine Die in March.

But Sprowls alluded to the fact the Governor has questioned a district configuration for CD 5 that appears on all draft congressional maps published to date by the House or Senate. The Senate passed its map, with a district analogous to CD 5, last month. The chambers will need to come together on a map soon to meet Leek’s timeline, but it may not matter if the Governor plans to veto a map with a Tallahassee-to-Jacksonville district on it.

“The Governor obviously had an issue and a concern based on, I think, the North Florida district, and he wanted to get a specific legal question on that,” Sprowls said. “I think it was appropriate to ask that question of the court. It’s very helpful for us to understand that, and the more clarity we can have on that point prior to addressing the congressional map means we will have a legally compliant map, which is our goal from the very beginning.”

Asked about the timing of the Governor’s request, Sprowls demurred.

“It’s always easy to Monday morning quarterback everything,” he said. “But the reality is it’s kind of hard, even for members who live in the political process and run for office in the districts. It’s really hard to see this until you see a map that’s on paper and you can really evaluate the districts and you can see what it means for communities.”

Sprowls said it’s more important to pass legal maps than to meet any timeline, even knowing districts must be in place for the 2022 election cycle.

“We have several weeks left of Session. We’ve got plenty of time to get them done. We want to get it right,” Sprowls said. “Of course, they are for this year but we want to get the maps right. The Governor wants to get them right. The thing is we all have to get on the same page to make that happen in the next several weeks, and we’re prepared to do that.”

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]


  • H R

    February 2, 2022 at 9:21 pm

    Ron Den, of FL,
    is nothing but a FOOL !
    Only a fool would listen to it.

  • H R

    February 2, 2022 at 9:26 pm

    I ‘m only here for the weather ,
    NOT the gov,

  • Tom

    February 2, 2022 at 10:18 pm

    Dumb ass h r you are.

Comments are closed.


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