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Electoral Map Drawn By DeSantis Adds More Republicans to Congress Than Any State

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


A congressional redistricting map described as an “extreme gerrymander” by critics that was drawn up by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will nevertheless be a boon to his Republican Party.

According to an analysis by senior elections analyst Nathaniel Rakich at FiveThirtyEight, the manner in which DeSantis managed to ensure that a congressional redistricting map he redrew himself got pushed through the state legislature was a big-time political move and enabled the GOP governor to single-handedly add more Republicans to the U.S. Congress than any other state.

And while Rakich described the map as an “extreme gerrymander,” it should be noted that the Florida Supreme Court refused to hear a legal challenge to it.

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He noted in his analysis:

When Florida started the process of redrawing its congressional districts after the 2020 census, the prospects for a fair map in the Sunshine State looked, well, bright. A map with only a mild Republican bias passed the state Senate on a bipartisan vote.

But then Gov. Ron DeSantis got involved. Rumor has it, DeSantis wants to run for president in 2024, and that means proving to the Republican base that he’s a tough, unflinching conservative warrior who will wipe the floor with Democrats at every turn.

So he made the extraordinary decision to propose his own congressional map — one that draws as few Democratic districts as possible. At first, the legislature just brushed him off and pushed ahead with its own map. But DeSantis threatened to veto it. So the legislature proposed a compromise between DeSantis’s map and its own. DeSantis still vetoed it. Finally, the legislature caved; in April, it announced it wouldn’t propose any more maps and would vote on whatever plan DeSantis wanted.

“It was a huge political victory for DeSantis. Not only did he cement his status as the top dog in Florida politics, but he can also take credit for adding more new Republican seats to the House of Representatives than any other state,” Rakich added, adding that the new map is much redder.

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“It contains 18 Republican-leaning seats, only eight Democratic-leaning seats and just two highly competitive seats. That’s four more Republican seats than under the old lines and six more seats than they would get under a perfectly fair map, according to one metric of measuring gerrymandering called the efficiency gap,” he noted.

The Florida Supreme Court in June delivered a major victory to DeSantis and Republicans in the Sunshine State.

“Florida’s Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a request for a hearing over the state’s controversial new congressional map that eliminates a majority Black district, putting an end—for now—to one of the most high-profile redistricting challenges heading into the midterms,” Forbes reported.

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“A slew of voting rights groups suing the state wanted the court to consider reinstating an injunction blocking the map,” the report added. “Leon County Circuit Judge Layne Smith issued an injunction last month blocking the map, ruling the proposal to move the 5th Congressional District out of a majority Black region of north Florida violated the Fair Districts Amendments of the state constitution. A state appellate court quickly moved to overturn the injunction, a decision the state Supreme Court chose to uphold.”

“The court did not rule on the merits of the lawsuit, but its decision to not issue an injunction effectively kills any chance of overturning the map before the midterms,” the report continued.

Also, under DeSantis’ leadership and guidance, the Sunshine State now has hundreds of thousands more registered Republicans than Democrats, in first for Florida.

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According to a report earlier this week, registered Republican voters now outnumber registered Democrats by more than 200,000, which is a historic advantage given that the latter had dominated voter registration Florida for decades.

“Historically, Democrats have held the clear advantage, but the tide began to noticeably turn over the last two years, as Americans sought shelter from ongoing coronavirus restrictions and vaccine mandates, thrusting the Sunshine State into the spotlight,” Breitbart News reported.

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