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Florida Senate approves new congressional map that cements GOP gains

“Throughout this process, Governor DeSantis has thrown childish tantrum after tantrum, all in an effort to improve his own political outlook, and it’s frankly embarrassing that my fellow Republicans haven’t spine to stand up to playground-style bullying from the governor,” Sen. Shevrin Jones (D-Miami Gardens) said after the vote.

Republicans countered that the map was a “compromise” measure and that the governor had a legitimate role to play in redistricting Congress.

“We would be abdicating our responsibility if we failed to pass a map and allow the courts to do so,” said State Sen. Ray Rodrigues (R-Estero).

Background: Florida won one seat in Congress in 2022 due to population growth, for a total of 28. Republicans currently hold a 16-to-11 advantage and the map originally approved by the Legislative Assembly last month would have increased the GOP advantage of two seats. But DeSantis vetoed the legislation, saying it was unconstitutional because the map would have preserved a Jacksonville-area district in which a black candidate was likely to be elected.

The Senate-approved map dismantles the North Florida seat currently held by Rep. Al Lawson (D-Fla.), a black Democrat and would potentially lead to a reversal of the Tampa Bay-area seat currently held by Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), who is not seeking re-election because he is running for governor. The Central Florida district held by retired Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) would also become a pro-GOP district.

And after: The Florida House should send the card to DeSantis no later than Thursday. Democratic-aligned groups have already vowed to sue to challenge the map, arguing that it violates federal voting laws and Florida’s anti-gerrymandering standards that have been approved by voters.