Gov. DeSantis submits another heavily GOP-favored congressional map

FLORDIA REDISTRICTING (2)
But will the Legislature care?

Gov. Ron DeSantis continued his unprecedented interjection into the redistricting process Tuesday. His office introduced a second proposed map for Florida’s 28 congressional districts.

The move comes despite the Florida Senate approving a map that largely ignored his last proposal, and the House moving forward with its own cartography as well.

The Governor’s map (P 0094), again submitted by counsel Ryan Newman, contains significant changes from a prior proposal. It’s also one that appears to strongly favor Republicans, with 20 districts that supported Republican Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election compared to just 8 carried by Democrat Joe Biden, according to data from Redistricting & You.

It retains the most controversial elements of the original draft, eliminating any district with a configuration similar to Florida’s 5th Congressional District.

That seat, represented now by Democratic U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, is considered by the Senate and House to be a protected minority seat. A configuration of the seat appears in all draft maps produced by either chamber of the Republican-controlled Legislature.

None of the drafts from the Governor’s office have a minority seat anywhere in north Florida, or a Black seat north of Palm Beach County.

Under the latest Newman draft, Florida’s 3rd Congressional District, located in the Jacksonville area, has 31.58% of its residents counted as Black voting-age population. By comparison, the existing CD 5 that spans from Tallahassee through Jacksonville has a Black voting population of 42.6%.

The newest cartography from Newman reshapes Florida’s 11th Congressional District, positioned in the Big Bend area and covering much of the geography in Lawson’s district, and makes it include more of Gainesville. This seat arguably would be the best turf where U.S. Rep. Kat Cammack, a Gainesville Republican, would run. But it reaches far further to the west than the existing Florida’s 3rd Congressional District she represents today.

The shifts in north Florida seem to create a ripple effect, forcing major changes to the Central Florida map from the Governor’s office. The new map reorients Florida’s 10th Congressional District to contain The Villages in north Sumter and south Marion while extending south into Polk County.

Like a prior draft, this also combines parts of Florida’s existing 7th and 10th Congressional Districts — represented now by Democratic U.S. Reps. Stephanie Murphy and Val Demings, respectively — into a geographically small district that runs from Ocoee to Bithlo. That likely would reduce three Democrat-held seats in the Orlando area to two.

The Florida House’s latest draft (H 8011) takes a similar approach, but the already-passed Senate map treats the current CD 10 as a Black seat and leaves both CD 7 and CD 10 largely intact.

Unlike either chamber’s maps, both DeSantis drafts also break apart the existing Florida’s 13th Congressional District, a swing seat. The Pinellas County seat is held now by Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, who is challenging DeSantis for Governor. The map instead combines Democratic portions of Pinellas and Hillsborough counties into one seat.

But this map notably also disrupts a lot of safe Republican territory. For example, the new map largely splits the existing Florida’s 16th Congressional District, a Republican-leaning seat held by U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, the GOP co-chair of the Florida congressional delegation. That results in one seat that covers Manatee County and south Hillsborough, as well as a seat that covers Sarasota and Charlotte counties. Both seats were carried by Trump and it’s unclear where Buchanan would run based on the proposed lines.

The latest draft notably restores a configuration for Florida’s 19th Congressional District that runs the coastal area from Fort Myers to Naples, much as it does today. The seat is held now by Republican U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds of Naples. The prior draft from the Governor’s office reconfigured the district as a Lee County seat.

But the new map includes an entirely inland Heartland district, which covers much of the existing Florida’s 17th Congressional District represented now by Republican U.S. Greg Steube, though not the Sarasota coastal area where he’s based.

In South Florida, the new map still largely reshapes Florida’s 20th Congressional District — a majority Black seat now held by Democratic U.S. Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick — but in less dramatic ways. It leaves a likely Black-performing seat in the proposed Florida’s 23rd Congressional District, which includes areas like Lauderhill and Fort Lauderdale, but also pulls in parts of Margate and Coral Springs. This results in substantial changes to Palm Beach-Broward areas now represented by Democratic Reps. Ted Deutch and Lois Frankel.

In many ways, the evolution to a more Republican map has many skeptical about whether the Legislature will even consider the maps in its own reapportionment process. Florida’s Fair Districts Amendment forbids the state from redistricting political boundaries in a way that favors a political party or individual candidate.

At the same time, DeSantis last week said he would not sign a map with any configuration of the current CD 5. Following that threat up with fresh cartography already has some Republican consultants wondering if lawmakers would challenge the Governor, especially as Primary voters, regardless of the law, pine for a map that advantages the GOP.

P 0094

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]


4 comments

  • Matthew Lusk

    February 15, 2022 at 3:39 pm

    Another superior map from the Governor’s office that uses compactness, natural barriers, geography to avoid racist low baiters in the Congress like Democrat Al conman Lawson.

  • ScienceBLVR

    February 15, 2022 at 4:22 pm

    So Republicans can only win if they cheat, draw redistricting maps that give them an unfair advantage, and restrict voting rights? Let’s not forget, DeSantis only won against a less than perfect candidate, by a very very small percentage. I guess he wants to be sure that doesn’t happen again .DeSantis’s version of “Republican Freedom” means cheating, lying, and again not representing all Floridians….

  • zhombre

    February 15, 2022 at 5:52 pm

    All the Democrats have running for statewide office are less than perfect candidates and DeSantis will be re-elected. I hope they remains failing party in the state of Florida. Mostly they are a flock of sanctimonious jerks like the guy above.

    • T Dawg

      February 17, 2022 at 10:27 am

      Agreed bro

Comments are closed.


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