GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida passed a new congressional district plan on Friday, eliminating two largely black districts near Jacksonville and Orlando that could give conservatives an additional four seats in Congress.
The map was approved by the Florida legislature earlier in the week.
Additionally, the map’s approval marks a political coup for DeSantis, who intervened in the primary process by introducing numerous more harsh gerrymanders and blocking legislation that had previously been proposed.
DeSantis convened a special session for redistricting this week, following his veto.
The map divides the state into 20 Republican seats and eight Democratic-leaning seats. Republicans possess 16 seats, while Democrats have 11 in the present arrangement.
🚨BREAKING: As Democrats literally scream in protest, Florida Republicans PASS DeSantis’ congressional map allowing Republicans to gain 4 extra seats in Congress. Huge WIN!
— Tim Swain (@SwainForSenate) April 21, 2022
Florida’s 5th Congressional District, which had a black lawmaker since 1993, looks completely different on this year’s new map.
Jacksonville to Tallahassee was initially part of the district, which was meant to unite black neighborhoods.
Two Separate Districts
With this change, both the 4th and 5th Districts have been separated into two separate districts.
Florida’s tenth district, which was left open by Democrat Congresswoman Val Demings, is shifted to Orlando. Two Democratic areas in Tampa and St. Petersburg are crammed into one district, resulting in the loss of black voters.
Following the release of the 2020 Census statistics, Florida gained representation in Congress.
There were constant back-of-the-house protests against the Republicans’ desire for a vote, but they were ignored.
Per the Orlando Sentinel, two black Democratic delegates, Travaris McCurdy and Angie Nixon, organized a sit-in protest while donning T-shirts that read, “Stop the Black Attack.”
“Dr. Martin Luther King stated that a guy cannot ride on your shoulder unless it is bent.
“Even though the egos and aspirations of one person want to bring us back to our old ways, I’m standing up today, and I’m standing straight. I will not bend to their demands,” Yvonne Hayes Hinson, a Democrat, said during the discussion.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) W's:
1. Establishing a new state agency to combat Election Fraud
2. Banning Abortions after 15 weeks
3. Limiting education on sexual and gender identity for children
4. New congressional map (20 GOP seats, 8 Dem seats)
Net Difference: GOP+7 pic.twitter.com/biIedO73eS
— InteractivePolls (@IAPolls2022) April 17, 2022
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DeSantis’ assistant secretary, Alex Kelly, told a Florida committee hearing on Tuesday that he did not create any of the divisions on the map based on race or political partisanship.
African American electors who live just above the I-4 corridor will not be able to elect African American representatives in Congress, said Duval County Democratic Party Chair, Daniel Henry.
This state’s legislature is about to enact maps that “all but guarantee African Americans would no longer have a say with regard to federal representation,” according to the narrator.
While there have been court cases against the map’s implementation in state courts, most observers of redistricting in the province expect them to be settled after the November elections.
The Republican gain in Florida seats provides the party a modest advantage in this cycle’s redistricting.
When it comes to redistricting, Republicans have the upper hand in more states than Democrats because of independent commissions and Democratic-controlled legislatures.