In the upcoming redistricting battle, Florida is a big prize

WASHINGTON — Florida is emerging as a national battleground in the fight over congressional redistricting. Republicans and Democrats are organizing and raising money, hoping to influence the drawing of new district lines in the state. With control of the House of Representatives potentially hanging in the balance, the stakes are high.

What You Need To Know

  • Florida Legislature, controlled by Republicans, will redraw the districts
  • Fair Districts law requires lawmakers to redraw them without favoring an incumbent or political party
  • GOP is looking at Florida redistricting as a way to retake the U.S. House in 2022
  • RELATED: Find your U.S. Representative

“Florida, I would say is the most competitive swing state,” said Carlos Trujillo, a former Trump Administration official and state lawmaker. 

Trujillo is determined to win back the House of Representatives for Republicans and he’s laying the groundwork in Florida. The Miami Republican is forming a group called Democracy Now ahead of the redrawing of Florida’s congressional districts.

Trujillo served on the House’s redistricting committee the last time the maps were redrawn.

“There’s not a lot of education on how the process works, what the process means and the ramifications of some of these redistricting processes for good or for bad,” Trujillo said in an interview with Spectrum News.

Trujillo, who served as former President Trump’s Ambassador to the Organization of American States, says the group doesn’t plan on creating their own maps.

“The purpose of the group is really to start that educational advocacy campaign,” Trujillo said. “So, our goal is to be involved from the inception when they start forming the committees, start advocating, start the public hearings, start taking the public input, all the way shepherding through the process and ultimately passes.”

National Republicans are watching the state closely. In addition to the redistricting process, there are several competitive house races and a new congressional seat.

“I think the path to Kevin McCarthy becoming speaker runs right through Florida. We have to maintain the seats we already hold and then we have the opportunity to pick up seats,” said RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel in an interview with Spectrum News.

Republicans control the Florida Legislature, responsible for redrawing the maps. The last redistricting process lasted years.

In 2010 Florida voters approved the Fair Districts amendments to the state constitution, requiring district maps be drawn without favoring incumbents or any political party. 

Disagreements of the maps drawn in the Florida Legislature eventually went to the Florida Supreme Court. The high court struck down the maps, ruling they had been drawn to favor the GOP. The maps were redrawn.

Some are concerned the high court may not be open to legal challenges this time, since Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed three of the seven sitting justices.

“Florida is one of nine target states. So, we are tracking it very closely,” said Fabiola Rodriguez with the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, a group run by former Attorney General Eric Holder.

Rodriguez said the group has had staff on the ground in Florida for years.

“We’re working to educate grassroots supporters, partner organizations and elected officials on the redistricting process, and to raise awareness about the harmful impact gerrymandering can have on state and federal policymaking,” she said.

 “The bottom line is most of us expect Republicans are going to not only draw a seat that’s favorable for a Republican candidate, but also modify other districts that are helpful to Republicans,” said Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia’s Center on Politics. 

“Florida has the potential to be the big prize for Republicans,” Kondik added.

The legislature isn’t expected to officially begin redrawing the district lines until January. 

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Written by Politixia

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