Double whammy for Florida Dems as DOJ, local court green light new maps

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“The federal pre-clearance announced today, along with supportive decisions from the Florida Supreme Court, show what Republicans leaders have said all along: This year’s redistricting process has been both legal and fair for all constituencies," said Kristen McDonald, a spokeswoman for the Republican Party of Florida. 

Democrats said the Justice Department's decision was not unexpected.

But in a further blow to Democrats, a circuit court rejected their request for the map to be invalidated on constitutional grounds. "Fair Districts" amendments to Florida's Constitution prohibit maps from favoring certain political parties — a requirement Democrats said the new map violated.

Democrats could still challenge the court's decision, but the state party said Monday it was still determining the next course of action.

"Last fall, Florida voters overwhelmingly demanded an end to partisan gerrymandering and incumbent protection," Florida Democratic Party Executive Director Scott Arceneaux said in a statement. "We remain concerned about elements of the map and we will continue to evaluate our legal options moving forward."