Florida Dems Fear GOP Redistricting Will Cost Them More Seats


OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has created a nightmare for Democrats for the midterm elections and he had to defeat moderate Republicans to do it.

The governor had to stand against the moderates to produce a congressional redistricting map that generously favors Republicans, a new report from FiveThirtyEight detailed.

On Thursday, the Florida Legislature finally caved to DeSantis’s wishes and passed one of his proposed congressional maps — the last major piece in the national redistricting puzzle. And befitting DeSantis’s national reputation (and ambitions), it is a dream map for partisan Republicans, single-handedly adding four new Republicans to the U.S. House of Representatives. But while DeSantis’s uncompromising insistence on maximizing Republican power may give him a nice story to tell if he runs for president, it could also be the map’s undoing in court.

Florida’s soon-to-be congressional map (it will go into effect once DeSantis signs it) creates 18 seats with a FiveThirtyEight partisan lean1 of R+5 or redder and only eight seats with a partisan lean of D+5 or bluer. (The remaining two seats fall into the “highly competitive” category between R+5 and D+5.)


This map will significantly shake up Florida’s congressional delegation, as it virtually guarantees that Democrats will lose three of their House seats in Florida: The 7th District goes from a D+5 partisan lean to R+14, the 13th District now has a partisan lean of R+12, and Rep. Al Lawson’s North Florida district is completely refigured into a solidly Republican seat. In addition, the new congressional seat that Florida gained from the 2020 census — numbered the 18th — is dark red under this map, for a GOP gain of four seats in total.

The Democrats were so distraught by this map that they staged a sit-in, The Tampa Bay Times reported.

“I’ve been kicked. I’ve been talked about and I have been called names you don’t even put in the dictionary anymore,” Rep. Yvonne Hinson said. “The Voting Rights Act of 1965, I fought for that. I’ve met Martin Luther King, I don’t just talk about him. He taught me peaceful protests, and here we are 2022 rolling back the tide.”

The Democrats believed the map was an attack on black voters and they sat on the floor and sang “We Shall Overcome.”

“Our demands are clear. The Legislature needs to draw maps,” Rep. Angie Nixon, who was wearing a shirt that read “Stop The Black Attack” said. “The Republicans in leadership need to come to the Democratic leadership, and we’re going to draw some constitutional maps. Those are our demands and we will not be moved.”

“I’m a military man,” Rep. Andrew Learned said. “But when millions of Black voters are being silenced by the governor and a complicit Legislature I certainly understand the spirit of my colleagues making sure at least their opposition is heard.”

Democrats have vowed to challenge the map in court.


“It is appalling, but not surprising, that the Republican Legislature has abdicated its constitutional duty to draft and pass congressional maps to the governor,” Florida Democratic Party Chair Manny Diaz said.

“As proven by the proposed map released today, Gov. DeSantis is hell-bent on eliminating congressional seats where Florida’s minority communities have the ability to elect representatives of their choice and he is imposing his own partisan political preferences on Florida’s congressional map,” he said.

“Governor DeSantis is bullying the Legislature into drawing Republicans an illegitimate and illegal partisan advantage in the congressional map, and he’s doing it at the expense of Black voters in Florida,” National Democratic Redistricting Committee President Kelly Burton said, The New York Times reported. “This blatant gerrymander will not go unchallenged.”

The Republicans do not see it that way.

“I think they are good maps that will be able to be upheld,” State Sen. Joe Gruters, the chairman of the state Republican Party, said.

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