Breaking Down the Florida Redistricting Decision

National Journal
Scott Bland
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Scott Bland
July 11, 2014, 7:45 a.m.

Re­dis­trict­ing al­ways seems to rear its head mid-dec­ade, long after most states have put their maps away. Texas has re­drawn its ini­tial con­gres­sion­al maps at least once every dec­ade since the 1970s — of­ten un­der court or­der. With yes­ter­day’s ju­di­cial rul­ing that two dis­tricts in Flor­ida were un­con­sti­tu­tion­al, that state has joined the party this dec­ade.

— A cir­cuit court judge in Flor­ida said Thursday that FL-05 and FL-10 were drawn with par­tis­an in­tent and will have to be remapped. FL-05 is Rep. Cor­rine Brown‘s (D) me­an­der­ing, ma­jor­ity-black dis­trict stretch­ing from Jack­son­ville to Or­lando, while FL-10 is Rep. Dan Web­ster‘s (R) neigh­bor­ing seat, a R+6 dis­trict where Web­ster nev­er­the­less had a dif­fi­cult race in 2012.

— Don’t ex­pect any­thing to change this year; with ap­peals in the works and Flor­ida’s primar­ies loom­ing, 2016 is a more likely — and po­ten­tially more in­ter­est­ing — time to ex­pect changes to the map, should the de­cision sur­vive ap­peal. Con­sider, es­pe­cially, that Re­pub­lic­ans might not have uni­fied con­trol of a le­gis­lat­ive remap­ping pro­cess, should Charlie Crist (D) win the gov­ernor’s race.

— Web­ster’s 2016 race could get very in­ter­est­ing in that scen­ario. Any changes to the bound­ar­ies of his dis­trict would seem likely to bring in more of Cent­ral Flor­ida’s boom­ing Pu­erto Ric­an pop­u­la­tion, which has helped make the re­gion more Demo­crat­ic re­cently — but is largely miss­ing from Web­ster’s care­fully drawn dis­trict. Web­ster ran be­hind Mitt Rom­ney in 2012, and Demo­crats would love to have former sher­iff and 2012 can­did­ate Val De­m­ings (D) take an­oth­er shot at some point.

As Flor­ida sorts out its maps and leg­al chal­lenges, Texas con­tin­ues to move for­ward with its own court saga this month. The middle years of this dec­ade have plenty to of­fer re­dis­trict­ing junkies.
— Scott Bland

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