Governor DeSantis’ proposed congressional map cuts most Negro counties by two



Governor Ron DeSantis proposed a congressional map to consider during redistricting and it sparked controversy.

DeSantis’ map would cut the number of Black majority counties from four to two.

It also removed a congressional seat held by Black representative Al Lawson of Tallahassee.

NAACP County President Lee James Muwakkil has been closely monitoring Southwest Florida’s local redistricting process.

Now, he’s also focusing on DeSantis’ congressional map.

“This map is being drawn in such a way that it will dilute Black and brown voters,” said Muwakkil. “It’s discriminatory in nature and I think that’s the point.”

Representative Spencer Roach, R-North Fort Myers, said he would encourage people not to jump to conclusions or read too much into the maps the legislature has in place.

Florida Democrats don’t accept that advice.

They held a press conference to deliver DeSantis’ redistricting proposal, and if passed, it would eliminate two African-American counties.

“It concerns me that it violates the fair zones amendments and violates the requirements of the constitution,” said Rep. Fentrice Driskell, D-Tampa.

Evan Jenne, D-Dania Beach, said this is a map that was never reviewed under any circumstances.

Muwakkil said he was particularly upset when the Governor’s office submitted the map the day before Martin Luther King Day.

“It’s an insult to what Dr. King stood for what he died,” Muwakkil said.

But Roach said the governor has the power to ask the state legislature to look at his plan specifically because he will be the last to sign the final redistricting map into law.

When that happens, lawsuits will follow, Roach said.

“There will be litigation, no matter which map is passed and approved,” he added.

While it’s rare for a governor to submit his own map to state legislators, it’s not out of bounds even though DeSantis is the first in recent history to do so.

“He really has amassed a considerable amount of political power. He is looking forward to his re-election and potentially running for president. So is he out of his game? No, I don’t think so,” said Peter Bergerson, a political expert at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Whatever happens, Southwest Florida will see some changes on its map.

“I mean, we’d love to see Lee and Collier County together, or at least Lee and Collier County have the same representation, but you know, it may or may not happen,” Roach said.

That won’t happen with the map proposed by DeSantis.

Because of population growth, Florida will have a new county.

DeSantis painted that county in Southwest Florida.

That would have big implications for Southwest Florida, Bergerson said.

“Southwest Florida could lose the homogeneity they currently have in the congressional district here,” Bergerson said.

DeSantis’ map redraws Byron Donald’s 19th congressional district, which now spans Lee and Collier counties.

The map sets Lee County as a separate district and then redraws Naples and Marco islands as a separate district.

“That would put two Republicans in the same district and whatever would happen,” Bergerson said. “Constituency boundaries become very important to intra-party competition.”

In a statement to WINK News, General Counsel to the Governor’s Executive Office, Ryan Newman said:

“We have legal concerns with Congressional redistricting maps being reviewed by the Legislature. We have submitted an alternative proposal, which we can support, that complies with federal and state requirements and addresses our legal concerns, while working to increase the integrity of the product. district, minimize county segregation where feasible, and protect minority voting populations. Because the Governor must approve any congressional map passed by the Legislature, we wanted to make our proposal available as soon as possible and in a transparent manner. ”

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