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