Because the Florida Supreme Court threw out the state's congressional districts as unconstitutional and politically motivated, the legislature will have to assemble next Monday for its second special session of the year to redraw fairer districts. House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Senate President Andy Gardiner, both Republicans, have instructed their staffs to draw up a "base map" without any influence from lawmakers or lobbyists.
What they came up with is a map that would result in 13 likely Republicans seats, ten likely Democratic seats, and four tossups. That's down from 15 likely Republican districts. Florida is currently represented by 17 Republicans and ten Democrats despite the fact there are more registered Democratic voters in Florida than Republicans.
Here are the new proposed districts:
For reference, below is a map of what the congressional districts currently look like. You'll notice the most notable difference is that District 5 has been changed from a dragon-shaped district that slithered its way from inner-city Jacksonville to inner-city Orlando into a district that begins in Jacksonville and instead expands west along the Georgia border.
You'll also notice examples of cleaner lines based on municipal and county borders. Lightly populated Hendry County would now be represented by one, likely Miami-based representative (currently Mario Diaz-Balart) instead of being split with a Broward/Palm Beach-based congressman as well.
However, these maps are not a done deal. Legislators will now get a chance to amend the maps, but to do so, they must disclose anyone who helped them come up with their plan.
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And, zoomed in, here's what the Miami districts would look like. There aren't many major changes in our neck of the woods.
However, Carlos Curbelo's District 26 would be considered one of the tossups. Those districts would likely favor Democrats in presidential election years (when Democrat voters bother to show up) and Republicans in midterm elections. That's not much of a change for District 26. Democrat Joe Garcia won the seat in 2012 and served a single term before Curbelo defeated him. Curbelo is being challenged by Democrat Annette Taddeo, Charlie Crist's former running mate.
Elsewhere in the state, Reps. Gwen Graham (D) and Dan Webster (R) could find themselves in reelection trouble. Districts currently held by Reps. Patrick Murphy (D) and Ron DeSantis (R) could also become more difficult to win for the incumbent's party, but coincidentally, both are running for U.S. Senate.