After his plan was rebuffed, DeSantis says redistricting 'will work itself out'
The DeSantis proposal seeks to create 18 districts that went for President Trump in 2020 and would make vast changes to historically Black districts held by Democrats Al Lawson in North Florida and Val Demings in the Orlando area.
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday waved off a decision by the state Senate to not consider a controversial redistricting plan that his administration proposed.
The Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly approved new congressional and Senate maps in the once-a-decade redistricting process. It did not take up a congressional map that DeSantis’ general counsel, Ryan Newman, proposed Sunday. The DeSantis map would be more favorable to Republicans.
During an appearance in Sarasota, DeSantis noted the House must still offer a congressional map and said the “process will work itself out.” The House and Senate will have to reach agreement on a final version, which then would go to DeSantis for his consideration.
Florida’s U.S. House delegation will increase from 27 to 28 members because of population growth over the past decade.
The Senate’s congressional map would result in 17 districts won in 2020 by former Republican President Donald Trump, up from 16 current districts. The DeSantis proposal seeks to create 18 districts that went for Trump in 2020. In part, the proposal would make vast changes to historically Black districts held by Democrats Al Lawson in North Florida and Val Demings in the Orlando area.
“That's their prerogative,” DeSantis replied when asked about the Republican-dominated Senate’s congressional map.
“For the congressional map, it requires my signature,” DeSantis said. “And so, you know, we have lawyers that had had concerns about what they were doing. So that process will work itself out, and we'll be able to hopefully end up with a product that makes a lot of sense."
Democrats criticized DeSantis’ congressional proposal, with some on Thursday praising the Senate’s map-making process. Sen. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando, called the Senate process “open and fair.”
Senate Reapportionment Chairman Sen. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, told reporters Wednesday the Senate was following the legislative process and guidelines under the Fair Districts constitutional amendments, which voters approved in 2010 to set standards for redistricting. Rodrigues declined to comment further on the governor’s proposal, saying he didn’t want to debate through the media.
In a statement, Newman said the proposal is one the governor’s office “can support, that adheres to federal and state requirements and addresses our legal concerns, while working to increase district compactness, minimize county splits where feasible, and protect minority voting populations."
DeSantis spokeswoman Christina Pushaw later characterized the configuration of Lawson’s District 5, which would continue to stretch from Jacksonville to Tallahassee in the proposed lines by the Senate, as an “unconstitutional gerrymander.”