Florida lawmakers adopt Governor DeSantis’ congressional map
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — While critics decried a congressional redistricting map submitted by Republican Ron DeSantis as racially motivated and drawn to benefit the GOP, the staffer who drew up the maps told reporters on Tuesday. legislators that he had not considered racial or partisan politics. consideration during its preparation.
Lawmakers have been called back to the Capitol for a special session to approve new congressional districts after DeSantis vetoed maps they approved last month. The Republican House and Senate leaders opted not to try drawing cards again, but rather to pick up one submitted by DeSantis.
The DeSantis map would likely add more Republican seats than the maps approved by the Legislative Assembly, and could mean that the four districts where black voters have the best chance of selecting a candidate would be reduced to two. Currently, there are five members of the Black Florida House of the current 27, including a Republican from a predominantly white and staunchly Republican district.
“The racial and political partisan data is in no way related to my drawing of … any of the districts on the map,” said J. Alex Kelly, DeSantis deputy chief of staff. He said the card is “race neutral”.
Democrats reject that argument.
DeSantis, who is a potential 2024 presidential candidate, argued that the previous map included racial “gerrymandering” because it drew a long, thin district in North Florida to bring together black residents on base. of race, keeping Democratic Rep. Al Lawson’s district largely intact. Governor’s map districts are more compact.
House Speaker Chris Sprows said he reviewed DeSantis’ card and found it had to meet constitutional standards.
“‘I looked, are there any articulated legal reasons why we can say yes to this card, and it meets the standard,'” he told reporters.
But he realizes that he will face legal challenges.
“They say… the certainties in life are death, taxes – and I’ll add one – redistricting litigation. To the right? It’s going to happen,” Sprows said.
Democrats do not buy the argument that race and party were not considered in the governor’s map. Several black lawmakers called DeSantis a racist for submitting the card. Rep. Angie Nixon said other lawmakers chastised her for previously using the term to describe the governor, but at a rally before the session began she repeated her opinion and said she would not be silenced.
“He is what he is,” Nixon said in an interview afterwards. “Everything is driven by race and politics. And that’s the type of systemic racism that they don’t want us to talk about. It’s because it makes them feel uncomfortable because it shows people who they really are.
Florida adds a 28th congressional district due to population growth over the decade. This week’s vote on the DeSantis card won’t be the end of the process as it will be subject to legal challenges.
Currently, there are 16 Republicans and 11 Democrats representing Florida in the United States House. Rep. Kelly Skidmore, the ranking Democrat on the House Congressional Redistricting Committee, scoffed at the idea that politics was not a factor in the DeSantis map and was instead just a coincidence.
“It’s an Easter miracle,” she said before the committee approved the card. “Remarkably, this map has 20 Republican representation seats and eight Democratic seats. There are so many things wrong with this map. There are so many things wrong with this process that are wrong with the governor inserting himself on this map to benefit his presidential election.
The Senate is expected to approve the map on Wednesday and send it to the House.
Qualifying for federal office will run June 13-17.