Florida Legislature to Consider DeSantis-Proposed Redistricting Map with 4 More Likely GOP Districts

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The Florida legislature will weigh a redistricting map, proposed on Sunday by Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) office, during its legislative session.

The proposed map is thought to give Republicans an advantage in four districts, opposed to the Senate’s previous draft that would likely garner Republicans only two additional seats. DeSantis cited legal concerns with the Senate’s map as he asked the legislature to consider his revised proposal:

We have legal concerns with the congressional redistricting maps under consideration in the legislature. We have 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.

DeSantis’s map revealed 18 districts that would likely lean right with ten leading left. The Senate map, proposed in November, only divided up the districts with 16 leaning right and 12 leaning left.

Like the Senate’s map, Rep. Stephanie Murphy’s (D-FL) district is eliminated by splitting it into two districts, one north, and one south. As a result, Murphy has announced she will not seek reelection.

State Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R) has announced he will run for the northern district likely to be realigned in favor of the GOP.

DeSantis’s map would also reconfigure the Tampa Bay area to benefit the GOP, where Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL) is vacating to challenge DeSantis for Florida’s governorship. Trump-endorsed Anna Paulina Luna is set to campaign for Crist’s vacated seat.

The draft also favorably impacts Jacksonville’s district lines for Republicans, along with placing Florida’s newly earned seat, through population growth, in South Florida – also a GOP favored district.

With the Florida GOP surpassing Democrats in voter registrations for the first time ever in 2021, the Florida legislature will weigh DeSantis’s proposal during January and February’s legislative session.

The likelihood that DeSantis’s maps will become enacted by the legislature seems probable due to the governor’s positive approval rating in the state. Yet with the legislature under the leadership of establishment Republicans Senate President Wilton Simpson and House Speaker Chris Sprowls, revisions to DeSantis’s map may occur.

The Florida legislature will study DeSantis’s map as Democrats are doing “weirdly well” in nationwide redistricting battles, according to New York Magazine. Democrats have curtailed the GOP’s overall 2022 midterm momentum in Maryland, New York, California, Oregon, New Jersey, and Illinois.

“[A]ccording to at least one analyst, there is actually an outside chance that the final map will be tilted, ever so slightly, in the Democrats’ favor,” the publication reported at the end of December.

Florida, Ohio, and North Carolina, however, remain states where GOP state legislatures have an opportunity to combat the Democrats’ redistricting gains.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) controls the U.S. House by a margin of about five seats.

Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø

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