FDP Honors The Meaning of Fair Districts

It would have been easy for Rod Smith and the FDP to follow another course.  Given the partisan nature of redistricting and the general malaise felt by Florida Democrats, Smith and party lawyers had three alternatives: A) disengage from reapportionment much the same way as the FDP had in 2002, allowing public interest groups to fight a lonely fight against the Republicans; B) Submit a partisan map to the Supreme Court, C) Honor the Fair Districts Amendment passed by 63% of Florida voters in 2010 by signing on to a  fair non-partisan plan that likely keeps a GOP majority in the Senate for the next decade. The plan originally submitted by the League of Women Voters and Common Cause draws fair districts based on communities of interest and the Voting Rights Act, and

Smith wisely chose option C.  In the process he increased the credibility of the FDP on the reapportionment issue to new heights. Throughout recent years the assumption was that the Democrats did not really believe in the principles of Fair Districts, but were simply pushing the Amendment because they were in the minority. Any astute political observer would come to that conclusion based on the self-preservation doctrine most Democrats have subscribed to since falling into the minority.

But what in fact the Florida Democratic Party has signed on to is a plan that endangers incumbents, including DEMOCRATIC INCUMBENTS in some areas, but draws equitable and fair lines. These lines are likely to maintain a GOP majority of 22-18 or 23-17 in the Senate, but will finally place communities of interest in districts likely to be represented by Senators who may actually represent their interests. Certainly an incentive for the Democrats in supporting the non-partisan plan is that it would completely eliminate any chance Ellyn Bogdanoff of Fort Lauderdale has of returning to the Senate for the 2013 session. Bogdanoff, from heavily Democratic Broward County has needed some creative map making by Don Gaetz and the Senate Redistricting Committee to even have a shot of reelection. Her seat under the new Senate passed maps is a Democratic leaning district DESPITE being a GOP gerrymander to try and save her.

The one minor issue I do have with the LWV/Common Cause/FDP map is that it would still allow both Don Gaetz and Greg Evers to run in separate NW Florida districts. However, the plan does likely mean that Evers would be succeeded by a Senator from either Escambia or Santa Rosa County, rather than another Okaloosa based member. Otherwise, the map is painstakingly fair, leaving incumbents vulnerable, protecting minority seats and likely maintaining a GOP majority, albeit a much smaller one.

The move squarely positions the FDP as the people’s party and enhances the credibility of the party in a time of excessive polarization nationally. For his other flaws, Rod Smith deserves credit for this extremely surprising and wise move.


59 thoughts on “FDP Honors The Meaning of Fair Districts”

  1. The thing that I like is that the Florida Democratic Party realizes, after 20 years, that CD3 isn’t for the benefit of minorities, but for the benefit of Republicans to gain more seats. With their plan, they help build a solid minority seat that goes from Jacksonville to Gainesville without sacrificing other seats. Thank you FDP for finally taking the CD 3 issue head on!!!

  2. This editorial is very good and accurate but I have qualms with what the FDP did.

    Instead of presenting an alternative plan with a similarly partisan gerrymander that would force the GOP to meet us halfway, Smith has unwisely given away several pick up opportunities by signing on to a map which is still skewed when compared to party registration and performance statewide.

    So this map is in reality a Republican lite map and we have as a party adopted it as “our plan.”

  3. Maria is running against Abruzzo….if not we have two young women in line waiting….that will kick his ass either way. Maria can take Jeremy.

  4. We have heard of no potential candidates against Abruzzo other than fringe ones. He has the support of the majority of partisan democrats.

  5. Morning Star,

    Would that be undemocratic to pick a seat for someone regardless if it is Abruzzo or anyone else since the seats are not in place yet. I have heard that many people are not supporting him.
    I guess you don’t live in South County. He will have at least 2 women in a primary and several women and one male in a general. Check your info its wrong.

  6. I heard Skidmore is one person that is running against Abruzzo. I also heard that Sharon Merchant will run in the general. That boy is not getting out of the race. It will be like the Rader/Benaquisto race. Merchant is more of a Democrat that Abruzzo…D women will support her. Looks like a situation. Didn’t Abruzzo work with that guy who ran againt Meek. The guy with the hookers? No once that gets out the people in the condos will freak!

  7. True Blue Democrat

    Yes I heard the following: Skidmore, Laxer (former aide to Deutch that Wendy hates (jealous I was told) they are nice to each other though, Merchant, Goldstein and Book. This is exciting! Skidmore people I think more the most. Merchant is pretty good as a Republican. Laxer is smart but I just saw her at the Delray meeting. Goldstein is a conservative Republican. Book is young like Laxer I think too but she is a Republican.

  8. I’m not a fan of Eleanor Sobel but it appears she would be in the same seat as Bogdanoff and we would hope to finish Ellyn off with that one if these end up being the maps.

  9. Forever Fighting

    I love Skidmore but both Clemens and Pafgord would be good in that new seat also. How did Benquesto ever win there?

  10. I wonder where Rossin is these days. He could walk into that seat. Jess Santamaria would be strong too but he won’t leave the county commission.

  11. This is an absurd list.

    Skidmore failed badly in 2010 in a decent district and helped bring down her former boss Klein who was running in the same area. She also only got 28% for the State House and won because three men split the other 72%. She works now for United Health and should never run for office again.

    Laxer wanted to run in 2010 but did not have the support. She asked Congressman Deutch to fire Wendi Lipsich which would have been disastrous. People should take a hint that she was the only former Deutch aide not taken to Congress.This having been said she would be better than Skidmore but will be killed by Abruzzobut will do better than Ski more would do.

    Clemens is a joke. Pafford more formidable but he will stay in the House I predict. But he is strong.

    Merchant, Goldstein, and Book all less viable than Abruzzo.The only way Abruzzo loses is if the courts throw out the map abd Benqesto runs in Palm Beach again. Then it’ll be a tight race.

    Sachs has little chance either. Either she runs east or lose. She knows this and is weighing her options as we speak.

  12. True Blue Democrat

    Morning Star,

    That is awful to say and not true about Skidmore & Klein.
    Laxer left working for Deutch to work for the Jewish community. Laxer and Wendi got along fine. Wendi was jealous of her like she was Skidmore and Bucher. They too were both aides and smart. Wendi is good at her job but not so much on standing on her own like those ladies. Remember they all put Irv back in office in 2010 and Laxer wanted no part of it. Smart. Pafford sucks and so does Clemens. Agree about Benaquisto. It really depends on the map. Book lives in Broward County too. We are all talking about Palm Beach County. Let’s see what happens but I hope Book doesn’t run we don’t need any carpetbaggers.

  13. I think more women should run. I remember in 2010 Deutch backed Slosberg and Sachs. I heard his aide was going to run but he backed those goons and didn’t offer her a job. I think now they just regret it and they are using Wendi as the excuse. Wendi always liked Tara. Tara never had a problem with Wendi. I think it was just politics and Deutch played. Deutch is a great Congressman and Laxer was just speaking about his divestment bill last week at some event. I don’t see bad blood between Deutch and his former aide. Not like Wexler and his former staffers.

  14. Skidmore was a great liberal. So much better than Klein. Forget Tara, Jeff etc. If Kelly runs Abruzzo should stay in the House. I like Tara but she’s not ready yet. Neither is Jeff but he is a good vote. He should stay in the House. Take out Hager.

    Wendi Wexler is an idiot. I agree on that.

  15. I like Laxer and Skidmore. I think Skidmore is done. Clemens is awful and so is Pafford. Wendi is not that dumb.

  16. Who is Laxer? Could she run against Ring? He’s the worst. Wendi herself would be the best candidate in that area. Skidmore? Yesterdays bad news!

  17. I’m not sure about Laxer & Lipsich. They hare each other I think. I like Laxer alot but she should run for House first. Not ready for the Senate. Wendi is terrible, a joke.

  18. Laxer was Deutch’s aide in the State Senate. She is one of the top Jewish female advocates around and looks good too. Strong personality means she would be a good candidate if she dan raise money.

  19. Laxer was the smartest one Deutch had. I cannot understand why he didn’t take her to DC. I would have made her Chief of Staff.

  20. When he’s running statewide and these other people you mention are looking for jobs you will be forced to like him.

  21. A great deal about the Wendi/Tara thing that most don’t know and do not need to know. Let us just say Tara didn’t run for office or get a job in the Congressional office for a reason.

  22. While I agree that Wendi would be a fabulous candidate I think she is pribabky haooy serving the consituents of district 19. Ski more is a disaster. By running so poorly she cost her old boss Klein, and also Alex Sink, Dan Gelber and Scott Maddox. She dragged down the whole ticket because she was such a poor candidate.

  23. Laxer left Deutch’s office. It’s seem morning star might be Wendi. There is too bad mouthing people mornin Wendi you should stop. Your former coworker

  24. I’m not Wendi but I certainly am a fan of hers, Dave Aronberg and Robert Wexler. Among other people. I like everyone who does well in Palm Beach.

  25. Jesus Christ, that would be a disaster. Think the Republicrats are bad now just wait till Ring is the party’s standard bearer.

  26. Do Wendi & Wexler not get along ?

    I always liked Tara. May be a little too wet behind the ears to run but still an assertive and principled person. Would be an outstanding DEC Chair.

  27. My greatest concern is that somehow the court draws the lines BUT uses the LWV map as a guide to district compactness but does not keep their actual map thus giving Bogdanoff a greater chance of surviving and potentially displacing many D incumbents. It could happen.

  28. With the length of time it took Bondi to file a brief and the length of time it I’d taking the court to rule…I think qualifying may be pushed back. Just a hunch.

  29. “Would be an outstanding DEC Chair.”

    Laxer would need to become a seated DEC member and regularly attend DEC meetings for that to even remotely be considered. 0.00000% chance.

  30. Principled Penny

    Oh, Laxer, stop blogging about yourself. We all know why you didn’t get a job when Deutch moved up and it has nothing to do with Wendi. No matter how many names you blog under your grammar and spelling errors are always recognizable.

  31. It is going to be interesting to see what happens. I do know that Laxer is not working with these people, that is why she left Deutch’s office in the first place. Wendi on the otherhand, I speak from experience when I worked for Wexler, she has always been jealous of any aide that stands on their own. She is also worried with some other people about something WAY bigger!

  32. I don’t think it is Laxer this mysterious person. They are too clever or aware of what is going on and has gone on to be her. Tara wants to run for office but knows little if anything about the networks of elected officials and activists in the area.

    We know who this mysterious person could be. They promote Laxer as a wind up but it is not her. Too intellegent to be her. Her work on divestment aside she literally has no issues to ever run on. She has not worked on anything else of note. She is a non factor.

    Several former Wexler and Aaronson allies have been friendly with the writer of this blog in the past. When he emails these articles out someone on his list comes back to aatack the good and decent leadership of South Palm.

  33. I think the writer of this column needs to start cleaning up the blogs. This morning star person has a stalking problem and an issue with many that are giving their opinions on here. If you work for any of the Democrats stay off of this. You seem to have problems with everyone minus a few in South Florida. We need to win so please get out of the way crazy person who is obsessed with many people including people you worked with, Skidmore, Klein, Deutch’s former aide and someone you worked for. Mark Alan Siegal get off of this!

  34. Stalking who? You won’t even identify whom you are. That is fine but if Kartik starts censoring comments it is clear he has an agenda.

  35. A lot of us activists have thought for many years Laxer would be a great candidate. Young, smart, energetic, attractive, and witty. Deutch made a big mistake not taking her to DC or making her the district head. He pays for it every day back in the district. Wendi is phony and constantly condescending. I hope Tara runs against one of these jerks.

  36. The Senate counsel argued tonight in court that the LWV plan is a Democratic gerrymander. Talk about an alternate reality!

  37. I heard Laxer speak on Israel once. She was awesome! What an incrediblely knowledgeable person.

    But at the state level you have to play the game and she does not do that. She was dumped by Deutch because Wendi did not like her.

    I wish she would run against Abruzzo or Slosberg but it seems like it is late for her to file. Too bad.

  38. Forever Fighting

    The Senate is hoping to run out the clock. They are simply stalling with nonsensical arguments.

  39. Wendi is the queen of Southern Palm Beach politics. All the old people love her. Tara’s mistake was not being phony, being smarter and maybe even being younger & prettier than Wendi.

    I say Laxer should run. She would be an AWESOME legislator.

  40. this Laxer girl sounds like the type of candidate the oartty needs to turn it around! I hope she runs for something and tells the boys club running things to shove it.

  41. The tactical mistake by the Democrats was not forcing repercussions for Senators like Jeremy Ring and Gwen Margolis who kept voting with the Republicans.

  42. Ring is awful. I want to know why this Morning Star person is so scared? What’s up? Yes that is why we need to get better people in the Senate. No more Sachs, Abruzzo or Ring. Aronberg was more moderate than these two people, which isn’t saying much. New people…brand new!

  43. This continued talk of a Laxer candidacy by 1 or 2 activists on here is so off base it is not even worth discussing. Tara is a young lady with fabulous potential. But it must be clearly stated she has a lot to learn about how things works and needs to become more mature before seeking anything but the smallest local office.

    As far as Skidmore she had her opportunity and blew it. You can thank her for Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff. A stronger Democrat may have won that race.

  44. I really want to meet this Morning Star person because she or he is clearly threatened and jealous by Laxer. To talk about being mature…look morning glory you have written about her how many times? That is pretty mature. I think we can get a whole new group of people to run and keep the good ones like Deutch, Gannon, Berman and bring back Klein & Skidmore. That would be some team!

  45. The maps will be thrown out and I do have to agree with Maria above. You should start blocking people that keep blogging non-stop and who are so negative. This is why the Democrats lost last time because they were listening to the wrong people and Ds were working against each other. Seriously this blogger is crazy…

  46. An excitement fills the air about possible opposition to the entrenched powers in Palm Beach.

    Laxer would be a dream candidate. So would several others local women. The men are trembling about this prospect. I hope Laxer runs even if Wendi gets upset.