TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Legislature’s new approach on drawing congressional maps is, if at first you don’t succeed, don’t try again.
House Speaker Chris Sprowls and Senate President Wilton Simpson sent a memo to lawmakers Monday ahead of a special session next week saying legislative staff will not draw new maps to be considered by the chambers. Instead, they're asking Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to give them one.
“We are awaiting a communication from the Governor’s Office with a map that he will support. Our intention is to provide the Governor’s Office opportunities to present that information before House and Senate redistricting committees,” the Republican leaders said in a joint memo.
In an unprecedented move, DeSantis, who is a potential 2024 presidential candidate, interjected himself into the once-a-decade process of drawing new political lines after the federal census by submitting his own congressional map.
The Senate did not take the governor’s map into consideration, and the House approved two maps, a primary map to try to appease DeSantis and a second in case the first map was found to be unconstitutional.
While the House was debating its proposal, DeSantis used Twitter to say it would be dead on arrival. The Senate later approved the House maps and DeSantis kept his promise and vetoed the bill.
By saying it will wait for the governor, the Legislature is basically conceding the process to him.
DeSantis previously submitted a map that would dismantle the districts of two Black U.S. House members — Reps. Al Lawson and Sheila Cherfilus McCormick. DeSantis’ proposal also would likely give Republicans more Florida seats than the maps approved by the House and Senate. That would benefit DeSantis, a potential 2024 presidential candidate, if he were to be elected to the White House.