Gov. DeSantis’ proposed congressional map cuts majority Black districts by two

Reporter: Breana Ross
Published: Updated:
Gov. Ron DeSantis proposed redistricting map has upset Democrats in Florida because it cuts majority-Black districts in half. (CREDIT: WINK News)

Gov. Ron DeSantis has proposed a congressional map for consideration in the redistricting process and it’s sparking controversy.

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

It also gets rid of a congressional seat held by Black representative Al Lawson in Tallahassee.

Lee County NAACP President James Muwakkil has kept a close eye on Southwest Florida’s local redistricting process.

Now, he is also focused on DeSantis’ congressional map.

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

State Rep. Spencer Roach, R-North Fort Myers, said he would encourage people not to jump to conclusions or read too much into the maps that the legislature has right now.

Florida Democrats are not taking that advice.

They called a news conference to blast DeSantis’ redistricting proposal and that if adopted, it would eliminate two African-American districts.

“It gives me concerns that it violates the fair districts amendments and violates constitutional requirements,” said State Rep. Fentrice Driskell, D-Tampa.

State Rep. Evan Jenne, D-Dania Beach, said this is a map that should never be considered under any circumstances.

Muwakkil said he is particularly irked that the Governor’s office submitted the map the day before Martin Luther King Day.

“That is an insult to what Dr. King stood for, what he died for,” Muwakkil said.

But Roach said the governor has the right to ask the state legislature to consider his plan especially since he will be the one who eventually signs the final redistricting map into law.

When that happens, the lawsuits will follow, Roach said.

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

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

“He’s really amassed a significant amount of political power. He’s looking forward to his reelection and potentially running for the presidency. So is he overstepping his play? No, I don’t think so,” said Peter Bergerson, a political expert with Florida Gulf Coast University.

Regardless of what happens, Southwest Florida will see some changes to its map.

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