JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Lawsuits continue to be filed in the congressional redistricting maps approved by the Florida Legislature.
Florida lawmakers approved the map Thursday as part of a contentious three-day special legislative session. One of the biggest issues has centered around District 5 -- here in North Florida. The seat is currently held by Rep. Al Lawson, a Democrat.
The new map favors Republican voters and Democrats have been crying foul. It was expected that Jacksonville Mayor Curry would run for that seat, but as News4JAX recently learned -- he is not.
“I love this job. There is more work to do. I’m looking forward to closing strong and I’m here to finish my term,” he told me on Monday.
When it comes to the legislative map, Democrats say the map strongly favors the GOP and dismantles two districts currently held by Black members of congress. The governor’s office drew up a map it described as neutral on race and party affiliation, and which it said abided by both the state and federal constitutions.
I asked Curry if he thought District 5 is a fair district.
“Here is what I can tell you. I have represented this entire community since I have been mayor of Jacksonville. And I will continue to represent this entire community. Had I chose to run for that seat, and won that election, I would’ve represented all the people of Jacksonville in that district,” Curry told me.
Several names of contenders have been floated for the seat, but Curry said, right now, he is not endorsing anyone and will look at their records once it’s official that they are running.
The Florida congressional delegation now has 16 Republicans and 11 Democrats, and the state is poised to gain one U.S. House seat based on the results of the 2020 U.S. census. Many political observers have said the DeSantis map could give Republicans a 20-8 advantage, though Florida’s vast number of unaffiliated voters can swing elections. Such an advantage would help DeSantis, should he run for and win the White House in 2024.
Of Florida’s 14.3 million registered voters, about 36% are Republicans and 35% Democrats, while the overwhelming majority of the remainder have no party affiliation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.