State Watch

DeSantis proposes Florida redistricting map

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) proposed a new congressional map for the Sunshine State on Sunday, an unusual move for a governor as the country gears up for November’s midterm elections.

The new lines establish 18 seats that would have gone in favor of then-President Trump in 2020, while the map proposed by the state Senate creates 16 seats that would have been red in that election, according to Politico.

DeSantis’s proposed congressional lines are targeting districts led by Black Democrats, according to The Associated Press. The districts represented by Rep. Al Lawson (D) and the late-Rep. Alcee Hastings (D) would be dismantled. The district represented by Rep. Charlie Crist (D) would also be torn apart.

Some are viewing the proposal — which was submitted by Ryan Newman, the governor’s general counsel, on Sunday night — as a sign that DeSantis is planning to veto the congressional map that is awaiting a vote in the state Senate, Politico noted.

The move by DeSantis is rare, according to the AP, as governors do not typically put forth redistricting proposals. Governors do, however, reserve the right to veto maps once they are approved by statehouses. DeSantis is up for reelection this year, and has been a rumored candidate for the 2024 presidential election.

Newman said the governor’s office has “legal concerns” with the maps that are currently under deliberation in the state 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,” Newman said.

“Because the Governor must approve any congressional map passed by the Legislature, we wanted to provide our proposal as soon as possible and in a transparent manner,” he added.

Lawson said DeSantis’s new map was “unprecedented,” adding “it is evident that DeSantis is trying to restrict minority representation, specifically African American voters.”

“I am confident that this attempt by the governor to dilute the voting rights of my constituents is in clear violation of the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution,” he added, according to the AP.

State Rep. Evan Jenne (D) told reporters that the maps “will probably end up leaving less African-American representation in Congress,” according to the AP.

The Florida Senate Reapportion Committee approved a redistricting map drawn by the Senate in a vote that was almost unanimous, sending the new lines to the full Senate for consideration, according to the AP. The House Redistricting Committee, however, still has to vote on the proposal.

Florida gained one congressional seat following the 2020 U.S. census.

The governor’s press secretary Christina Pushaw defended DeSantis’ proposed map in an email to The Hill on Tuesday, contending that the new lines increase the number of minority districts in Florida.

“We believe our map performs better than many of the legislative maps on the tier 2 constitutional requirements including compactness and preservation of boundaries, all while increasing the number of federally protected minority districts,” Pushaw said.

This year’s redistricting drama comes after the Florida Supreme Court rejected the state’s congressional maps in 2015, contending that the lines were advantageous to Republicans, according to the AP. The maps were reportedly drawn by Republicans.

Updated at 10:38 p.m.

State Watch