Gov. DeSantis disses ‘DOA’ redistricting map, vows veto
Ron DeSantis gets a legal smackdown over Florida's 2021 voting reform bill. Image via AP.

DeSantis at USF
No hope for House map?

Gov. Ron DeSantis made it clear that he would not support the congressional redistricting map being discussed in the Florida House Friday.

“I will veto the congressional reapportionment plan currently being debated by the House. DOA,” DeSantis tweeted ahead of an appearance in Jacksonville Friday.

DeSantis offered more detail on his problems with the map under consideration during comments at JAXPORT, saying he was serious when he said he would veto a map to which he objected.

“After seeing me for however many years, what makes you think when I say anything that I’m not going to follow through?” DeSantis said to applause.

DeSantis rejected the idea that his position might be a “bluff.”

“When I say expect this, you should expect this,” DeSantis said.

The Governor urged a “compromise on some of those issues,” but framed himself as “part of that process” of congressional redistricting.

“They have their prerogative,” DeSantis said. “My prerogative is when it hits my desk I have to take action on it.”

Jacksonville, ironically, is at the heart of the redistricting controversy. The House has crafted a two-map plan with cartography. One map (H 8019) reconfigures Florida’s 5th Congressional District into a Duval County-only seat, replacing the current Florida’s 5th Congressional District that DeSantis has declared unconstitutional. House analysts believe the district will still allow Black voters to control the Primary.

Already, the House has telegraphed some concern about whether courts will find that as diminishment of minority voting power. That’s why legislation was crafted with a secondary map (H 2015) in place, with a suggestion courts put that backup map in place in the event judges determine the primary map to be unconstitutional.

But DeSantis’ office has argued racially-motivated district lines should be found unconstitutional by the courts.

“Where race is ‘the predominant factor motivating the Legislature’s decision to place a significant number of voters within or without a particular district,’ the Legislature must prove that such ‘race-based sorting of voters serves a ‘compelling interest’ and is ‘narrowly tailored’ to that end,’” reads a letter from gubernatorial counsel Ryan Newman to the House.

“Because the Legislature cannot show that the proposed Congressional District 3 (as it is numbered on a House map) would satisfy strict scrutiny, the proposed district violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and should not be included in any map enacted by the Florida House of Representatives.”

Newman has submitted two draft maps on behalf of the Governor’s Office. Neither includes a minority seat in North Florida.

Indeed, the latest (P 0094) also eliminates a minority seat in Central Florida, Florida’s 10th Congressional District. Coincidentally, it produces 20 districts where Republican Donald Trump won more votes for President in 2020 than Democrat Joe Biden, and just eight where Biden prevailed. By comparison, both House maps have 18 Trump districts and 10 Biden jurisdictions.

Trump won Florida in 2020 by three percentage points.

As the House map was being moved toward a vote, the Governor doused cold water on it Friday.

DeSantis’ tweet threw debate about the congressional map into turmoil.

Rep. Evan Jenne, House Democratic Leader, alerted House members to the tweet mid-discussion.

“This map doesn’t just have significant problems on this floor or in the courts.” Jenne said. “This map has significant problems even leaving the building. Be aware of that.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Randy Fine, vice chair of the House Redistricting Committee, acknowledged the House has its role, but so does the Governor.

“I’ve heard this debate this morning, this notion that we are either doing the Governor’s bidding or that the Governor has no place in this process. And we hear a lot about separation of powers,” Fine said. “On every bill that we pass through here, he gets a say. And if, when you’re running a bill, and you don’t go talk to his office about what your bill is going to do, it’s hard to get a bill.”

Staff Reports


  • Matthew Lusk

    March 4, 2022 at 2:46 pm

    If current CD 5 wasn’t such a yuge failure, over-riding a veto would be easy. Too many democrats in power now to start sensible bills. They just screw up everything they touch. DeSantis is the Real Deal, moving on up.

  • WaitAMinute

    March 4, 2022 at 7:28 pm

    I am a lifelong democrat and I agree with DeSantis’ argument that CD 5 should not stretch from Jacksonville to Tallahassee. It makes no sense. However, I do believe Jacksonville deserves 2 representatives in Congress. It’s the largest city in the state and it is one of the nation’s fastest growing metro areas.

Comments are closed.


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