View the Florida Senate redistricting maps, courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel

The Orlando Sentinel has a great page showing the redistricting maps that will be voted by the Florida Senate this week.

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The Sentinel provides a comparison of the maps:An Orlando Sentinel analysis suggests the Republican-drawn maps for Senate seats and congressional districts that the Senate will debate Tuesday would advantage the GOP in future elections. But the authors argue that is unavoidable, given where people live. Even the Democratic-produced maps did not remove much of the advantage the GOP would have.

They also link to maps drawn up by Senate Democrats that were not formally presented because they actually hurt minority democrats. The Sentinel also noted:

The Democratic maps achieve more partisan parity at the expense of black incumbents in at least two seats … [Senator Larcenia] Bullard’s district, which runs north from Key West along western Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, would see its black voters drop from 29 percent to 20 percent in the Democratic map, while Latino voters would remain at 43 percent. The Republican-favored map boosts blacks to 35 percent and lowers Hispanic numbers to 40 percent.

Bullard is term-limited and her son, Rep. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, is expected to run for her seat. Last week, she objected that the Democratic map would diminish black voting strength. Republicans joined in, and by the end of last week, Rich had decided not to bring the maps up for a floor vote Tuesday.

This “coalition” of Senate Republicans and minority Democrats is not new. For those who weren’t part of Florida politics in the early 1990s, an interesting thing happened. In 1992, the Democrats ran both the House and Senate. They controlled the new lines, and should have been able to do what everyone hates Republicans for doing – protecting their turf.

However, a coalition of Republicans and African-American Democrats had enough votes to pass their maps, which created many more “minority access” districts but also created districts much more favorable to Republicans. The result in 1994 was a 20-20 tie in the Senate, and in 1996 Republicans won control of both houses of the Legislature for the first time since Reconstruction.

About Jim Johnson

Editor and publisher of The State of Sunshine.
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