Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) this week single-handedly erased the Democrats’ national gerrymandering edge by proposing a map with no constitutional infirmities.
If the map is not invalidated and if the legislature approves it, all of the hard work put in by the Democrats in redistricting will be destroyed.
The DeSantis map, which is being considered in the House of Representatives, would result in 20 red districts and 8 blue ones.
The establishment-backed Speaker of the House, Chris Sprowls (R), and Senate President Wilton Simpson (R) rebelled against DeSantis’s initial map, which would have created 20 red and 8 blue districts, last month. Instead of adopting the map drawn by DeSantis, the senators passed and delivered a subpar one that only produced 18 red and 10 blue districts. Sprowls’ and Simpson’s prior plans were far worse.
DeSantis rejected the Democrat-aligned map and called for a special session in April to look at the establishment’s plan, which he vetoed. The establishment Republicans advised DeSantis that he should submit a map for them to review again during the special session next week.
DeSantis’ newest map is essentially the same as his initial one. The most recent version would break up a Democratic district near Jacksonville and divide it into two separate districts. It would also establish a more favorable area for Republicans in Tampa Bay and Pinellas County, as Sprowls and Simpson are believed to have argued against.
DeSantis’ general counsel, Ryan Newman, wrote the lawmakers in a letter that says the proposed plan “is based on collaboration and consultation with Senate and House leadership, as well as previously passed maps.”
The map is almost sure to be approved by the legislature, redrawing Florida’s political future for the upcoming ten years, with Sprowls and Simpson falling in line. David Wasserman, a senior editor of the Cook Political Report and redistricting expert, tweeted that the map would completely destroy Democrats’ national gerrymandering efforts going forward based on 2020 census data.
“If the 20R-8D FL map is approved and survives court challenges, it may net the GOP four additional seats, completely wiping out Democratic redistricting gains so far,” Wasserman said.