Despite creating political maps using no political data, two redistricting proposals by Florida’s Republican-led Senate favor Republicans, consolidate voters in Democratic districts and compress minority seats, a Herald/Times analysis shows.
But the maps released on Monday by the staff of the state Senate Reapportionment Committee also put incumbent Republicans —such as U.S. Reps. David Rivera of Miami, Steve Southerland of Panama City and Tom Rooney of Palm Beach — in less reliable districts than the ones they represent today. See Congressional map with performance data here. See Senate map with performance data here.
Senate leaders defended the maps Tuesday, saying they adhere to new constitutionally imposed rules that prohibit lawmakers from drawing districts that favor incumbents or political parties while also protecting the voting strength of racial and ethnic minorities.
“There wasn’t an intent to put more or fewer Democrats or Republicans in any seat because we don’t have party data in our software,’’ said Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, head of the Senate redistricting committee. “We followed the law and it inconvenienced some Republicans and it inconvenienced some Democrats. No matter how a line is drawn in a House, Senate, or congressional district, someone is going to see a boogeyman behind the line.” Read story here.