Gov. DeSantis signals he won’t sign Legislature’s proposed congressional maps
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His office argues a North Florida district in effect since 2015 should not be preserved.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signaled Friday he won’t sign any congressional redistricting proposals produced to date by the Florida Legislature

“We will not be signing any congressional map that has an unconstitutional gerrymander in it, and that is going to be the position that we stick to,” DeSantis said. “Just take that to the bank.”

The statement comes a day after the Florida Supreme Court declined to advise DeSantis on whether a map of Florida’s now-28 congressional seats must include a jurisdiction similar to Florida’s 5th Congressional District.

The Governor acknowledged that decision, but since the court offered no opinion on the Tallahassee-to-Jacksonville spanning district, he’s left with his own judgment.

“We asked the Florida Supreme Court for some guidance on how to interpret a provision of our state constitution related to congressional redistricting. The court declined to take that up but acknowledged that these are really live issues and are unsettled,” he said.

DeSantis’ office in January took the unprecedented step of submitting its own redistricting proposal (P 0079) for review. The cartography conspicuously included no district analogous to CD 5, which is now represented by U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, a Tallahassee Democrat.

Spokespeople for his office then characterized the district as an “unconstitutional gerrymander that unnaturally connects communities in Jacksonville with communities hours away in Tallahassee and Gadsden counties.” The district was implemented by the Florida Supreme Court in 2015 when it tossed out a map approved by the Florida Legislature.

That seems to be the position DeSantis’ office still holds.

“Just to let people know, that is not changing my position at all,” he said.

One missing word from the Governor’s remarks? Veto. Florida does allow legislation to become law without the Governor’s signature if he chooses not to sign or veto it.

The comments drew applause from supporters at a public event in Marianna. But importantly, many watchdog groups have deemed DeSantis’ map a GOP-friendly gerrymander.

Democratic lawyer Marc Elias, who has sued several Republican-run states over redistricting, posted on Twitter: “I look forward to my team deposing him and his staff to fully understand the illegal partisan motivations of this map.”

Lawson has also lashed out at the Governor’s proposals and his request of the Supreme Court. Many Democrats categorized that request as an attempt to pre-clear his map before the Legislature could produce a final product. Lawson celebrated the Florida Supreme Court’s decision not to issue any advisory.

“Ron DeSantis wanted the Supreme Court to violate the separation of powers and engage the judicial branch in partisan politics,” Lawson said in a statement Thursday. “They wisely and correctly rejected his request. Yes, Ron DeSantis lost today, but more importantly, democracy and the Constitution won.”

Democrats dislike the Governor’s map that apparently makes every district north of Orlando a likely Republican seat. But perhaps more significantly,  the Legislature hasn’t warmed to the Governor’s map either.

While Senate President Wilton Simpson and House Speaker Chris Sprowls both filed briefs supporting the Governor’s right to ask for a court opinion, a version of CD 5 appears on every draft map drawn by the Legislature to date. That includes three drafts from the House Redistricting Committee staff and 14 maps produced by the Senate Reapportionment Committee staff or sitting Senators.

Both chambers of the Florida Legislature have presumed CD 5 to be a Black-performing district in staff analyses and have preserved it in some form. That’s because the Fair Districts amendment to Florida’s constitution requires the protection of minority communities’ abilities to elect candidates of their choice and protects against diminishment of that ability.

The Senate already approved a map (S 8060) after the Governor’s Office submitted its proposal, ignoring the submission entirely.

Meanwhile, after the Florida Supreme Court rejection of DeSantis’ request, Sprowls made clear his chamber would not pursue the same course as the Governor’s Office.

“The Governor’s question about the North Florida district and its contiguous nature raised a novel legal argument,” Sprowls told press. “We are probably not in a position to be able to address novel legal arguments in our process, which is why, had we gotten guidance from the Supreme Court, that may have enlightened that. But in the absence of that guidance and the absence of legal precedent, we are going to operate and we are going to follow the law. We are going to come out with a map that complies. I think that you can probably anticipate that North Florida district … in the previous House map will be similar or the same.”

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]


11 comments

  • Matthew Lusk

    February 11, 2022 at 2:48 pm

    It’s really pitiful to see such learned legislators quivel and whine for a long ,streched, frayed district based on race identity politics. Talk about partisan hate, Al Lawson is in it deep, slinging all the hate he can. With out a specially designed district, Al Lawson can not win. He is a low race baiter, playing on grievances. Then to top it off, he sells out his own race to illegal aliens, atheists, and banking crime syndicate members. What a fraud Al Lawson is.

  • marcus

    February 11, 2022 at 3:19 pm

    RINO leaders of the Florida legislature, House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R) and President of the Senate Wilton Simpson (R).
    I hope the Honorable Gov. DeSantis also signals these legislative clowns that he will not go along with other nonsense they are hurting the citizens with: so called PIP reform, that was shown by an independent report, would raise all of of our auto-insurance rates by up to 40%.
    The price of gas is closing in on $5.00 dollars a gallon, the Gov. has requested a hiatus on gas tax at the pump, yet simpson, sprowls, and company ignored this request. These so-called elected officials need to get to work helping the citizens, instead of finding more ways to cost us money!

  • Maxine Sue

    February 11, 2022 at 10:11 pm

    Ron DeSantis thinks he’s already President of the United States; thinks he’s King; thinks anyone’s interested in his opinion on foreign affairs. Won’t let local governments or school boards make laws or rules for their own locales; won’t let companies impose rules; won’t abide by federal laws; weighs in on the crisis in CANADA; i.e., not in Florida. Funny how he thinks that truckers blocking traffic in Canada is just great, but protestors in Florida who block traffic will be subject to extremely harsh criminal penalties. He’s extremely power mad, a very scary man.

  • David Bruderly

    February 12, 2022 at 12:49 am

    DeSantis is desperate to consolidate power by gerrymandering as many districts as possible into safe GOP seats. He knows that his incompetent handling of pandemic, economy & environment will destroy GOP hopes of keeping control.

  • Richard M Brady

    February 12, 2022 at 5:05 am

    Chris Sprowls has not answered 2 letters sent to him to move constitutional carry bills forward. If a representative cannot answer a constituent inquiry, then he should not be Speaker of the House.

  • Anita McMillian

    February 12, 2022 at 8:45 am

    I agree with you Maxine Sue 100%. Gov. DeSantis want to be like former President Trump did like building the wall. Governor DeSantis and all the Republicans this is not your world. You & Trump think you can stop other people for coming over for sample Haiti, Puerto Rico’s, Bahamas when they were hit by hurricanes and again with earthquakes that tell us that you don’t care about other people.

  • Deloris Dennison

    February 12, 2022 at 9:05 am

    I agree Ron DeSantis is a power hungry person who have he help in Florida ? All the pandemic money he got to help the citizens he’s hovering over it like it belongs to him instead of helping the people. Especially the senior citizens. All he does stick up under the rich.we remember this when time to vote

  • Tom

    February 13, 2022 at 8:19 am

    Maxine, Anita and Deloris.
    Ungrateful 3 you are, your freedom, jobs, life and wonderful Florida society are all due to America’s Gov. , Is the best! Shame on you all.

    Lies, partisan Dems.
    You voted for Gillium? what a joke.
    Who you got? Fraud, the Camillion Crispy critters? Tarantula. Spare us. Losers!

    DeSantis saved Florida from tyrannical blue state lockdowns! If have have kids in school thank Desantis. If you have a job, thank Desantis. Businesses prospered. The environment thank Desantis. If you are a teacher, first responder thank Desantis. Police & Fire thank Desantis. Enjoy your freedom, quality of life thank Desantis.
    Unlike blue stats tyrants kids are getting education cause he made sure schools stayed open. Spare us your extremism.

  • Marvin

    February 13, 2022 at 4:54 pm

    Amen, brother Tom!

  • Tom P.

    February 13, 2022 at 5:38 pm

    “The district was implemented by the Florida Supreme Court in 2015 when it tossed out a map approved by the Florida Legislature.”

    Because of that little clause in the US Constitution that gives the State Supreme Courts the right to set the rules and draw boundries for congressional districts.

    • Tom

      February 14, 2022 at 8:30 pm

      Yes Marvin. No prob.
      I am the conservative legend on FP.
      You can count on me.
      Also yes Tom P.
      Liberal Dems Govs appointed Sup ct in 2015
      Gov is correct on cong maps.

Comments are closed.


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