On October 14th, just a few days before special session begins, the state legislature released six proposed base maps for its state Senate lines. Each map is different in some areas and similar in others. From these six proposals the Legislature must try to come to an agreement on one final map; something they failed to do with the congressional districts during the summer. Due to the large number of changes across the six distinct maps, only one Senate district is guaranteed to see no change from its current makeup, Senate District 3. A vast majority of voters are going to see their Senate districts change.
When Judge Terry Lewis convenes his redistricting trial later this month, there will be 7 different maps to examine — three from the Legislature and four from the plaintiffs. This article will cover some key differences in the maps being proposed. The specific focus is going to be on the maps submitted by the plaintiffs and how they compare to the Legislature’s proposals.
The Florida Legislature released its base map heading into next week’s Special Session on redistricting. The map makes changes to 22 of the 27 districts. Some changes are small while others are very large. Many voters will find themselves in brand new districts if the base map becomes law. The map below shows areas that will change districts and those that will remain the same.
In today’s Tallahassee Democrat article, DNC member Jon Ausman and myself advocated for keeping Leon County whole in any new congressional district drawn in next month’s Special Session. The Supreme Court ordered that the current 5th Congressional district, stretching from Jacksonville to Orlando, be eliminated and a new east-west district be drawn. The court cited the proposed districts by the League of Women Voters as an acceptable option. The League’s proposed map splits Leon County between two districts, thus diluting the power of the County and Tallahassee.
Over the last 20 years, Florida’s reputation as a swing state has endured. The state’s population continues to grow at a fast rate, recently propelling Florida past New York, making the state the 3rd largest in the nation. Yet while other states have seen population shifts effect the political leanings of the state; Florida has generally remained a swing state in Presidential politics since the 1990s.
The night of the March primary in Jacksonville, I wrote that Alvin Brown had a narrow path to victory. The mayor needed to win over supporters of Bill Bishop, the moderate Republican who came in third place, and he needed to dramatically increase Democratic turnout. When all was said and done on runoff night Alvin Brown narrowly lost re-election with 48.7% of the vote. So what happened?
Jacksonville had its first round of voting Tuesday. Democrat Alvin Brown, first elected in an upset win in 2011, is seeking re-election in a hard-fought contest. Brown’s main challenger is Republican Lenny Curry, the former Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida. The race has been heated so far. Brown is facing stiff headwind due to the county’s Republican Lean. However, the Mayor’s approval rating remains above 50% in recent polls. With four candidates in the race, it was widely believed that Brown and Curry would advance to a runoff election.
As a Broward County resident for the first 19 years of my life, Broward County and its politics are still very close to me. The county, second largest in the state, has 35 cities and towns. Many of these cities host elections in the fall of even-numbered years to coincide with major races. However, many cities continue to hold elections in the spring of odd and even numbered years. March 10th saw the latest round of municipal elections for the county; with eight different cities going to the polls. The following article will contain a map of each race’s result and a quick summary of the results and events surrounding the election. While some races were fairly quiet, others were major battles for the future of the cities.
In Florida, a great deal of attention has been paid to the issue of gerrymandering during the 2012 redistricting process. The state has been subjected to lawsuits over its Congressional and Legislative Maps by a coalition arguing the legislature violated new redistricting rules passed by voters in 2010. A lawsuit in the summer of 2014 forced the legislature to alter several of its congressional districts. The changes were small, but the lawsuit opened up a much larger can of worms. Through the lawsuit, the consulting firm, Data Targeting, which has worked with the legislature and Florida GOP, was forced to turn over 500 pages in emails and documents detailing its involvement in the redistricting process of 2012.
In 2013, I wrote an article on Democratic Party Strength at the local level. The article examined areas where Democrats were strong and weak on down-ballot races for county commission and constitutional officers. It has long been my view that local elections are critical to the future of any political party. Local elections allow parties to build benches for higher office. In addition, local elections can be used to help measure party strength in different jurisdictions.