The Florida Supreme Court has allowed Governor Ron DeSantis’ (R) redistricting map to stand, declining to rule on a case challenging the map and letting the appellate ruling stand.
The lower circuit court had blocked the map, but the appellate court stayed the lower court’s order. The map creates 20 Republican-leaning districts and 8 Democrat-leaning districts.
The case hinged on accusations that the map violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act by not considering race when districts are shaped.
“The map they’re proposing would violate the Voting Rights Act and clearly goes after African American voters. So it’s more of the same,” Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) accused. “They depend on suppressing African American votes to win seats, and it’s disgraceful.”
The map cuts Democrat districts near Jacksonville and Orlando in half, which splits up at least one district’s Black voters.
Rep. Al Lawson (D-FL) argued that the district should stay combined for reasons of race, but that argument did not fly with the court.
Some moderate Republicans initially opposed the map, but they gave up after DeSantis called a special session of the legislature, which allowed the map to then be passed.
Cook Political Report senior editor David Wasserman credited DeSantis with saving Republicans from massive losses nationally in their redistricting efforts, even though Republicans hold more governorships and legislative majorities than Democrats do.
CBS News reported that with redistricting complete in all 50 states, 187 seats lean Democrat, 173 seats lean Republican, and 81 are toss-ups within five points for either party.
The network called the map the “fairest map the party believes it has seen in the last three decades,” speaking of the Democrat party.
Of course, if Democrats think it’s fair, it is probably wildly skewed in their favor.
But in the current Republican-leaning climate, all the gerrymandering and election cheating may not matter, because a majority of those 81 toss-ups are expected to go in the GOP direction this time.