Gov. Ron DeSantis hinted at a press conference Friday that the congressional redistricting process could cause some tension between Republican leaders.
A day after the Senate passed its cartography for Florida’s now-28 congressional districts (S 8060), he fielded a question about the Senate ignoring a map (P 0079) submitted this week by his executive office.
“That’s their prerogative,” he said.
In fact, a Governor offering a redistricting proposal appears to be unprecedented, and certainly hasn’t been done in decades. But DeSantis reminded reporters Friday that his office does have a check on the reapportionment process, at least with the congressional lines.
“You know each chamber is able to weigh in and, of course, for the state maps, those maps go straight to the Supreme Court,” he said. “For the congressional map it requires my signature.”
He alluded to concerns raised by members of his administration that the congressional district represented by U.S. Rep. Al Lawson represents “an unconstitutional gerrymander.”
“We had lawyers who had concerns about what they were doing,” he said. “So that process will work itself out and we’ll hopefully end up with a product that makes a lot of sense.”
The Senate’s map includes a district similar to CD 5, as have all maps proposed by legislative staff.
The Senate and House must come together during the Legislative Session to agree on a congressional map and send implementing legislation to the Governor. The bill can become law without his signature, but DeSantis holds veto power as well. In fact, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear vetoed a map produced by the Legislature there on Thursday. But that was a Democratic nixing the work of a Republican Legislature. The GOP now controls both Florida’s Legislature and Governor’s Mansion.
Of note, while the General Counsel for DeSantis’ office has said parts of the Senate’s congressional map don’t make sense, most outside parties disagree.
RepresentUS, a group working with the Princeton Gerrymandering Process, praised the Senate maps and trashed the Governor’s plan.
“With the Florida Senate passing today’s congressional and state Senate maps with broad bipartisan support, we urge the Florida House to follow their lead and embrace a more bipartisan approach to their process,” said Joe Kabourek, senior campaign director for RepresentUS. “While small changes to the Tampa Bay and Jacksonville regions would have resulted in a more perfect and fair map, the Florida Senate maps earned a ‘B’ from the nonpartisan Princeton Gerrymandering Project because a more fair and transparent process was followed.
“Unlike the Governor’s proposed congressional map that runs afoul of the federal Voting Rights Act and makes a mockery of the Florida Constitutional Fair District standards by eliminating minority-access seats, the Florida Senate put forward a set of congressional and state Senate maps that are worthy of the bipartisan vote it received. Floridians would be well served if the Florida Legislature adopted the Senate’s work product as new, and final maps.”