Gov. DeSantis signs his congressional map into law
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 4/20/22-Sen. Manny Diaz, Jr., R-Hialeah, left, looks at the congressional redistricting map the Senate later approved, while debate on the bill proceeds, Wednesday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

It's a map where 20 of 28 districts won by Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a new congressional map his own staff crafted.

At a South Florida press conference, DeSantis said that he had signed the redistricting plan (P 0109) into law.

“We also did sign the congressional reapportionment in Tallahassee earlier today, so that’s going to be transmitted,” DeSantis said.

The 28-district map includes 20 districts in which Republican Donald Trump won the 2020 Presidential Election and eight where Democrat Joe Biden prevailed. Trump won Florida in 2020 by three percentage points.

The signature makes Florida the 48th state to finish its redistricting process and brings to a close months of wrangling between DeSantis and the Legislature. The congressional cartography marks one of few points of serious friction between the Republican Governor and the GOP leaders in the Florida House and Senate.

After the Florida Senate initially produced maps that watchdog groups considered balanced, right-wing voices criticized lawmakers for not leveraging a Republican legislative majority into a stronger GOP map. Shortly after former Trump adviser Steve Bannon posted DeSantis’ number on his social media and encouraged followers to tell DeSantis that Florida needs five more GOP seats, the Governor’s Office in January submitted the first of three maps it wanted considered by the Legislature.

The chief difference between products created by the Governor’s staff and that coming from the Legislature involved the treatment of minority-controlled seats. DeSantis publicly criticized the configuration of Florida’s 5th Congressional District, represented now by U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, a Tallahassee Democrat. At one point, he asked the Florida Supreme Court to weigh in early on whether that district violated the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. The court declined to offer an opinion at that time.

The Legislature maintained that its redistricting process was bound by the Fair Districts amendment to the Florida Constitution, passed by voters in 2010. That prohibits redistricting that favors or disfavors a political party or candidate. It also bars the diminishment of minority communities’ ability to elect a congressional Representative of their choice.

Ultimately, the Legislature during the regular Session passed two maps. One (P 8019) attempted to address DeSantis’ concerns about a noncompact CD 5 by drafting a district contained in Duval County that would still likely elect a Black Democrat. Another (P 8015) preserved Lawson’s seat, similar to the existing configuration, in case courts threw the first map out.

Ultimately, the Governor vetoed the two-map plan and called the Legislature back to Tallahassee for a Special Session. But the Legislature deferred to the Governor. Deputy Chief of Staff Alex Kelly drafted a map he said preserved 10 of the Legislature’s seats, including all of South Florida’s minority access seats.

The Legislature on Thursday approved the Governor’s map, but conducted a vote as Black lawmakers held a sit-in within the chamber, chanting as legislators cast their final votes.

The map makes a number of significant changes throughout the state.

First, the map includes 28 districts instead of the current 27, following the federal government apportioning a new House seat to Florida based on the 2020 Census.

The most talked about change comes, of course, in reconfiguring Lawson’s seat. The Jacksonville area gets divided into two Republican-leaning seats. Another change to the north, Florida’s 3rd Congressional District, represented by Republican U.S. Rep. Kat Cammack, shifts westward and borders the state line.

The map also reconfigures a seat Senate analysts considered a minority-performing district in the Orlando area. Florida’s 10th Congressional District, represented by Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings, sheds heavily Black areas on its west. And while it remains a district won by Biden, Black residents no longer make up a significant portion of the Democratic Primary voting pool.

Demings this year plans to challenge U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio for his seat, and the new map could significantly alter the Primary to succeed her in Congress.

Florida’s 7th Congressional District, represented by retiring Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, also becomes reconfigured as a Seminole County-heavy coastal district. The district also flips from a Biden district on baseline maps to a Trump district on the DeSantis map.

Tampa Bay also sees major changes under the plan.

For one, that’s where cartographers put the district that most view as Florida’s new seat. Florida’s 15th Congressional District houses much of northeast Hillsborough County, as well as south Pasco County and west Polk County. While U.S. Rep. Scott Franklin, a Lakeland Republican, may run there, most anticipate he will run in the more southern oriented Florida’s 18th Congressional District, which spans south to Hendry County. CD 15 leans Republican and has drawn a number of Republican contenders including state Rep. Jackie Toledo and former U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross.

The map also takes Florida’s 14th Congressional District and stretches it across Tampa Bay, a controversial change that seems disconnected from DeSantis’ arguments about the U.S. Constitution. That leaves a Democratic seat that covers Downtown Tampa and Downtown St. Pete, where U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor should easily win re-election.

But the map shifts Florida’s 13th Congressional District west and north, and takes it from a battleground won by Biden to a jurisdiction won by Trump. U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, a St. Petersburg Democrat, isn’t running for re-election and instead is looking to challenge DeSantis in the Governor’s race. There are Primaries underway on the Democrat and Republican side to succeed him and the race looks much more challenging for Democrats under the new lines.

Minority advocates, funded by a foundation run by former Attorney General Eric Holder, sued Florida over the map on Friday, saying it clearly violates Fair Districts both for favoring the Republican Party and for diminishing Black voting power.

P 0109

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].


  • Itold Usoh

    April 22, 2022 at 5:20 pm

    Ughh. I have been redistricted into FL 24, Frederica Wilson’s district. Just checked out her one-page, maybe 200-word campaign web site. Lame. Like what does she actually do in Washington? The web site was all platitudes and banalities.

    Looks like an R protest vote for me. Maybe I will wrote in my own name. Wilson will no doubt win given the district’s makeup, but not with my vote.

    • Bob

      April 24, 2022 at 1:38 pm


    • Renters

      April 25, 2022 at 4:22 am

      “Maybe I will write in my own name”

      Usoh the geriatric rent a boy

    • Matthew Lusk

      April 25, 2022 at 11:04 am

      DeSantis wins again!

  • Freedom Wins

    April 25, 2022 at 11:12 pm

    Lol. I liked how the liberal author wrote “trump only won Florida by 3 percentage points” and somehow equates that margin to mean Florida should make an equal amount of conservative leaning districts vs liberal leaning ones.

    Let me educate you: We are a republic. The winner of a district, regardless of how small or large the candidate’s margins were, takes the entire district. That is how it has worked since the founding of our constitution.

    Also: Districts should be roughly the same size in land mass and contain roughly the same amount of people as the other districts. This is easier said than done because there are urban and rural areas. Some areas have big cities and some have small cities. But these similarity requirements is intended to ensure there is a similar representation of voters in each district (meaning rural vs urban). This also means if conservatives only win a district by 3%, they take the entire district.. The same is true if the liberal wins……

    People are so incredibly sick of the bias and slanted innuendos expressed in the media. Perfect example I this trash article.

Comments are closed.


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