Elections

Florida Senate Republicans Quickly Support Gov. DeSantis’ Redistricting Plan


Following Gov. Ron DeSantis’ rejection of the GOP’s own restricting map, his office released a more Republican-favorable redistricting plan on Wednesday which received quick support from the leader of the Senate’s reapportionment efforts.

“The DeSantis administration formally submitted its plan Wednesday to the GOP-controlled Legislature where leaders in that chamber have already signaled they would accept whatever proposal was offered to them,” Politico reported. “Wednesday’s move is a signal of the power DeSantis wields in the now-Republican-dominated state. Redistricting in Florida may help shape the composition of the U.S. House for at least the next decade.”

Democrats, meanwhile, as expected said the once-a-decade redistricting process has gone “extreme partisan” and threatened legal challenges.

State lawmakers will return to Tallahassee next week for a special session after DeSantis vetoed a congressional map passed during this year’s regular session. Senate Reapportionment Chairman Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, found the plan released Wednesday by the governor’s office more than acceptable.

“After thoroughly reviewing the governor’s submission and a discussion with our legal counsel, I have determined that the governor’s map reflects standards the Senate can support,” Rodrigues wrote in a memo to senators.

Rodrigues said the “proposal comes following meaningful discussions with our Senate legal counsel” and that he had been brief Tuesday by the governor’s staff on the design.

Ryan Newman, general counsel for DeSantis, said in a letter Wednesday to Rodrigues that the proposal incorporated pieces of earlier maps recommended by the governor’s office. Newman’s letter said the proposal “eliminates the racially gerrymandered” Congressional District 5, which currently stretches from Jacksonville to west of Tallahassee, and makes changes to districts in the Tampa region.

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The governor’s proposal would go along with new lines that the Legislature pitched for the Panhandle and Southeast Florida.

District 5 in North Florida has spurred the most controversy, as it was drawn in the past to help elect a Black candidate. It is held by U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, a Black Democrat.

On Tuesday, DeSantis said the district would be redrawn in a “race-neutral manner.”

In vetoing the congressional map passed by the Legislature, DeSantis argued that it violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, in part because of District 5. He also raised concerns about how lawmakers interpreted the “Fair Districts” constitutional amendments, which voters passed in 2010 to try to prevent gerrymandering.

Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, and House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, announced Monday that DeSantis would propose a map for the special session. It is highly unusual for the governor to take the lead on proposing maps.

Florida Democratic Party Chairman Manny Diaz released a statement early Wednesday evening blasting DeSantis’ proposal and legislative leaders.

“It is appalling, but not surprising, that the Republican Legislature has abdicated its constitutional duty to draft and pass congressional maps to the governor,” Diaz said. “As proven by the proposed map released today, Gov. DeSantis is hell-bent on eliminating congressional seats where Florida’s minority communities have the ability to elect representatives of their choice and he is imposing his own partisan political preferences on Florida’s congressional map.”

Matt Isbell, a Tallahassee-based analyst who has worked for Democrats, tweeted Wednesday that with DeSantis’ proposal, the number of Republican-held congressional seats would be expected to grow from the current 16 to 20, based on 2020 voting patterns.

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Who knows how this will play out, but with a fighter like DeSantis behind the map, the odds are good he will win in the end.

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Conservative independent talk show host and owner of https://FinishTheRace. USMC Veteran fighting daily to preserve Faith - Family - Country values in the United States of America.

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