With Florida’s gubernatorial race only a few months in, the political rhetoric is increasing and pressure is mounting on Republican and Democratic sides of the aisle. For the Democrats, they will be attempting to unseat current Gov. Ron DeSantis and current Sen. Marco Rubio.
For Republicans, the pressure is mounting to increase their already dominant presence in Florida’s statewide offices and state legislature. However, this upcoming legislative session will also see the Republican-controlled State House and Senate redrawing Florida’s congressional seats.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s tabulations in 2020, Florida will gain one congressional seat. However, the release of the census’ data was delayed, so lawmakers are already within their allotted time to work on the redistricting.
Republican leadership are hoping for a smooth process where lawmakers are not discussing redistricting proposals with those who might benefit politically from the legislature’s efforts.
“The House continues to strongly recommend that planned or unplanned conversations about redistricting not take place outside of the committee process with individuals who have a vested interest in the outcomes of the redistricting process,” said Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R-65).
One group, FairDistricts Florida Movement, is “not optimistic” regarding transparency in the redistricting process for Florida’s 21.5 million residents.
“I would like to be optimistic about this current redistricting cycle,” said Ellen Freidin, leader of the FairDistricts Florida Movement and CEO of FairDistricts Now, Inc. “So far, the Legislature has not given us any reason to be optimistic that the Fair Districts amendments will be adhered to. But we always remain hopeful and are looking forward, as I’m sure you are, to watching this process unfold.”
Overall, Florida’s rural areas saw declines in population, while Central Florida saw the largest growth. However, rural panhandle county, Calhoun County, saw the most population growth at 93 percent. Conversely, their neighbor to the south, Gulf County, saw the largest decrease with 11 percent.
Rep. Charlie Crist (D-13) and Rep. Stephanie Murphy’s (D-7) congressional seats are being targeted by Republicans nationally as seats that could be flipped by the redistricting making their districts more red in order that the GOP retakes in the House of Representatives in 2022.
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