The Republican-controlled Florida legislature on Thursday opposed Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) redistricted map that would have advantaged Republicans in the November midterms.
After Florida’s Supreme Court did not render a helpful advisory opinion on DeSantis’s proposed 20-8 redistricted map, the establishment Republican leaders of the Florida legislature, House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R) and President of the Senate Wilton Simpson (R), immediately put forward a subpar map that hands Democrats two more seats (18-10).
DeSantis’s spokeswoman Taryn Fenske told the Washington Post that state Republicans were “hopeful the Supreme Court would provide clarity to legal questions surrounding the maps,” but in the wake of a non-opinion, DeSantis will consider the legislature’s weaker map.
The legislature’s proposal keeps Rep. Al Lawson’s (D) district in North Florida while also being less aggressive in Central Florida:
Here is the partisan breakdown for the House’s Congressional plan.
The biggest differences between house and senate is Tampa and Orlando. The Orlando difference is a big dispute point between the two chambers. Yes this nukes #FL07. Meanwhile #FL05 remains #flapol #sayfie pic.twitter.com/k9wbmheaBN
— Florida Data Geek (@MappingFL) February 10, 2022
DeSantis’ general counsel Ryan Newman told the Post the current map from 2015, which was drawn by a Democrat judge, is a “flagrant gerrymander.” Newman said DeSantis’s proposed map was submitted over that concern:
We submitted an alternative proposal, which we can support, that adheres to federal and state requirements and addresses our legal concerns, while working to increase district compactness, minimize county splits where feasible and protect minority voting populations.
Adam Kincaid, executive director of the National Republican Redistricting Trust, reframed from slamming the Florida legislature’s weaker map but did call DeSantis’s map a “completely legal congressional proposal.”
Establishment Republicans in Florida may have produced a weaker map because Democrats have shown a willingness to fight. According to the Wall Street Journal, Barack Obama’s former attorney general, Eric Holder, who has successfully defeated Republican state lawmakers in the court system by implementing a “sue to blue” strategy, has likely intimidated Republicans. Holder has reportedly been aggressively using the court system to produce state maps that are “gerrymandered” — all the while accusing Republicans of gerrymandering their way to victory.
About 75 congressional districts in seven states will reportedly be settled in the Courts.
Nationwide, Republicans were hoping the Florida legislature would be legally aggressive in state redistricting. But Republicans have done poorly. New York Magazine reported in December that Democrats were doing “weirdly well” in nationwide redistricting battles, echoing Wasserman’s analysis that Democrats have taken a two-to-three seat advantage in the redistricting battle, where Republicans were expected to dominate.
In Missouri, for instance, the Republican-controlled legislature cannot agree on a 7-1 GOP favored map, placing in doubt whether Republicans can expand their delegation by one. If the Republican-controlled legislature does agree and forward the 7-1 map to Gov. Mike Parson (R) to sign, the governor’s communications team has suggested he would veto the map.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) controls the speakership’s gavel by five votes. Republicans will need to perform very well in November to take back the House. Generic congressional polling shows Republicans have the momentum heading into the November midterms.
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