JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Northeast Florida continues to be the center of a statewide battle, and Gov. Ron DeSantis has offered another plan for congressional redistricting.
Every 10 years — following the national census — states have to agree on how their congressional districts are drawn. DeSantis, a former member of the House of Representatives, submitted the new map Tuesday.
It’s a second proposal for the 28 congressional districts in the state. Analysts say it strongly favors Republicans.
Twenty of the districts strongly supported former President Donald Trump, a Republican, in the 2020 presidential election, while eight of the districts were carried by current President Joe Biden, a Democrat.
This is the prior map, which was so controversial that the governor asked the state Supreme Court to weigh in before the map went through the entire process. The new map keeps many of the controversial elements.
A big part of that concerns District 5 and affects Northeast Florida.
This is what Florida’s districts look like now, and District 5 is the one that stretches from Jacksonville to Tallahassee across the northern boundary of the state.
Rep. Al Lawson, a Democrat, represents District 5.
Why is the district shaped so strangely? It is considered a protected minority seat.
The governor’s plan eliminates this and any seat with a similar configuration.
There are two things to note of the newly submitted map.
A new District 3 drops right into Jacksonville. Analysts count the population of Black voting age residents at 31%
In the existing District 5, the Black voting population is more than 42%.
Also, a newly reshaped District 11 appears and it takes a lot of the area currently in District 5.
It includes more of Gainesville and many think that sets it up for Rep. Kat Cammack, R-Gainesville.
Florida’s Senate has passed a map. Above is the Florida House version.
Here’s the problem at the end of these tracks: Florida’s Fair Districts Amendment forbids the state from redistricting political boundaries in a way that favors a political party or individual candidate.
Last week, DeSantis said he would not sign any map with any configuration of the current District 5. A question remains: Will lawmakers in the Republican controlled Legislature challenge the governor on this?