Gov. DeSantis releases his congressional map, reduces Democrat-held districts

Reporter: Breana Ross Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
Gov. Ron DeSantis
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a news conference, Monday, Feb. 7, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

Governor Ron DeSantis and his team have drawn up a new congressional map that is stirring up controversy.

The map heavily favors Republicans, bumping the number of Republican-held seats and lowering the number of Democrat-held seats.

The map is also drawing controversy because the DeSantis map effectively reduces the number of minority districts from four to two, targeting two high-profile African American members of congress.

You can view the governor’s proposed map by clicking here.

The governor’s critics say if lawmakers go along with him, they’ll take the state to court.

Drawing “race-neutral” districts has been the governor’s goal. He said so himself on Tuesday.

“We are not going to have a 200-mile gerrymander that divides people by the color of their skin. That is wrong,” said Governor DeSantis.

With that, DeSantis set his sights on erasing the current District 5, which stretches from Jacksonville to Tallahassee. That district is represented by black democrat Al Lawson.

“The north Florida African American seat has effectively been destroyed,” said Matthew Isbell, founder of MCI Maps.

Isbell said the governor also targeted District 10 in central Florida, represented by Val Demings, a black Democrat and candidate for Senate.

“What DeSantis has done is he again, divides the African American community in Orlando,” said Isbell.

Is the governor’s “race-neutral map” good or bad for Florida voters? Jonathan Martin, with the Lee County GOP, said it’s good.

“Race should not play any part any role in drawing districts,” said Martin.

Cecile Scoon, with the League of Women Voters, said race must be considered to address historical wrongs and make sure African Americans are properly represented.

“It’s a very unfortunate return to a state where minority voices are not valued and are returned to the government actively limiting the opportunity for African American voices and votes, and other black and brown communities,” said Scoon.

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