Florida Senate releases draft redistricting maps
Rough drafts of Florida’s redistricting maps have been released in four different formats, none of which provide Republicans, or Florida’s ruling party, a serious seat promotion or electoral advantage.
Although fair district zoning laws prohibit the practice of Gerrymandering, a conservative majority in the Florida Supreme Court suggests that legal barriers to Republican-leaning maps may be overstated. Such observations led some to question the finality of the maps.
Florida will add a new seat to Congress.
There has been much speculation over the past two years about where the “new” congressional district might be located in Florida. Most of the forecasts identified the new area in Central Florida, which turned out to be accurate.
The area marked “28” in the draft maps aligns closely with Florida’s 15th congressional district, which is currently occupied by Republican Representative Scott Franklin. The area marked “15” appears to be a blue slashed area on the outskirts of Tampa. The new “28” also splits into some Democratic Rep. Darren Soto’s districts, which today are the most populous in the state according to census totals, but leave Soto’s hometown of Kissimmee in Florida’s 9th congressional district.
The 2016 loss of Congressman John Mica’s seat came after a court order for redistricting, leaving some to speculate that the relatively nonpartisan nature of the maps may be the result of lessons from years past about protecting incumbents.
However, other national observers were not convinced.
“….. retain the map (Florida’s 7th congressional district) re come back. Stephanie Murphy (D) F (Florida’s Thirteenth Congressional District) re come back. Charlie Crest (D) In Biden’s seats, though, the Rs can convert them to double-digit Trump counties,” tweeted David Wasserman of Cook Political Report. “I’d be very surprised if the Tallahassee Rs agreed. The only possible explanation is, if this map does not undergo drastic changes: Republicans fear adverse “fair districts” ruling by the Florida Supreme Court and want to ensure the safety of their occupants first.”
Another elusive explanation for the minimal partisan display of the Central Florida corridor of maps revolves around state politics. In this scenario, map design serves as a tool for the state’s legislative leadership to undermine one of its most underrated sons, state representative Anthony Sabatini.
Sabatini is currently still locked in the Republican nomination race in the 7th Congressional District with several other candidates, including mega fundraiser Corey Mills, holding strong positions as well. Some are questioning whether there might be a Sturgill-Miller-style replay between the two conservative behemoths now swirling around the territory of Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy.
Although Sabatini may switch regions again, it is likely that both donors and supporters will be confused by such a decision.
Senate maps were also released with much fewer responses by observers.
Above: Draft state senate maps. Photos: Courtesy of the Florida State Senate