Senate Passes Another Flawed Map

Three Examples Demonstrate Absurdity of New Senate Map

The “Extraordinary Apportionment Session” as it was labeled has continued to expose the arrogance of the Senate’s GOP majority and the complicity many Democrats who stand to benefit from a map designed to protect incumbents, maintain a large GOP majority in the body and to thumb its nose at the voters of the state and the Supreme Court. The 31-6 vote in favor of the unconstitutional bill is another black mark on a body that continues to embarrass itself in this process.

Wednesday’s lottery ball exercise which randomly assigned district numbers to the new Gaetz plan created an amusing spectacle which was by design: The Senate is going through great pains to change the perception of the legislation but the reality has not changed. Below we’ll cite three of several potential examples to make this point.

In southeast Florida, the Senate has maintained a long coastal district that takes as many Republican voters as possible in a heavily Democratic area in order to try and save Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff’s legislative career. In the process, the current district of Senator Maria Sachs which is fairly compact and maintains one community of interest has been split into four different districts which quite possibly will be represented by four senators from other areas. Sachs herself faces a decision on where to run or whether to run for re-election.

Continuing upstate, in the Greater Orlando Metropolitan area, the lines of two districts have been cleverly drawn to take in outlying areas and not so coincidentally improve the GOP performance of both districts. This will serve the purpose of keeping both Majority Leader Andy Gardiner and Senator David Simmons in office bucking the overwhelming Democratic trends in the area and openly conflicting with the partisan balance and compactness of the districts passed by the Florida House and approved by the Supreme Court in the same area.

Then there is Northwest Florida where the Senate has continued its practice begun under Democrats to use I-10 as a boundary between a coastal and an interior Senate district, robbing the Pensacola Metropolitan area (Escambia and Santa Rosa counties) of a resident senator and ensuring less populated Okaloosa County, the home of Chairman Gaetz maintains two resident senators.

The Fair Districts Amendment passed with 63 percent of the statewide vote, but in the Florida Senate that only counts for six lonely Democratic voices of dissent. While those six Democrats are profiles in courage the other Democrats who voted for this map and put their self interest ahead of Florida’s citizens and those of their own party should be ashamed.

The Florida House technically could redraw the Senate map if it likes this weekend but will opt not to. Can you really blame Dean Cannon or Will Weatherford? They followed the new constitutional doctrine with great efficiency while the senior and ostensibly more mature legislative body showed nothing but arrogance and disdain for the will of the voters and the courts in the process. The House leadership wants nothing to do with the mess the Senate has created and does not want individual House members messing with the map in order to draw themselves potential Senate districts.

“We may have had an excuse last time but, for this go around, there is none,” said Democratic Leader Nan Rich, “Incumbent protection is written all over the map.” Minority Leader Rich hit the nail in the Senate’s coffin with this statement.  If the Supreme Court has the will to enforce the law that a responsible judicial body should, this map will be rejected and incumbents all over state will face of against each other fair, court drawn districts.

14 thoughts on “Senate Passes Another Flawed Map”

  1. The statement that’s been picked up every that Maria Sachs and Ellyn Bogdanoff now reside in the same district has a life of it’s own, but is not true.

    Maria Sachs has not lived in Boynton Beach for some time. Her voting address and her homsteaded address are now west of the FL Turnpike outside Boca Raton, which put her outside this redrawn district.

  2. I think the point of this particular article is to say the existing Sachs district has been split four ways with the anchor on the current district ripped apart.

  3. The Orlando example you use is valid but the Northwest Florida example could be defended on the grounds that Pensacola/Escambia has the possibility still of electing two senators since both districts take in a long swath of land. But your point that both senators are from Okaloosa County is a valid criticism against the previous map which elected them.

    Regarding Orlando, I would expect both the districts your reference to be the focal point of the FDPs court case against the map passed yesterday. Both are partisan gerrymanders designed to protect incumbents and both districts need to be redrawn significantly to comply with the fair districts amendment.

    Now to Bogdanoff, her new district is the worst kind of gerrymander even if the lines look somewhat smooth. The district is the only possible draw that could elect a Republican in that geographic region. Any other district drawn that would attempt to comply with fair districts would end Bogdanoff’s senate tenure. As she is a partisan hack of the worst kind, she is being protected by this map.

    Sachs can as Ann mentions run in another district. But the bulk of her constituents are being moved into seats which will likely be represented by senators from other areas.

  4. This map may stand up because of the new district numbers and the courts lack if willingness to draw the lines themselves. But the map should be thrown out.

  5. Pingback: Fla. Progressive Political Post of the Day — Political Hurricane » Florida Progressive Coalition Blog -

  6. Forever Fighting

    It will be shocking I repeat SHOCKING if supreme court justices who have already written one opinion allow this map to stand.

    It will be shot down. No doubts in my mind.

  7. Bogdanoff doesn’t stand a chance in this revised district. The Obama numbers for it are 57.0%/43.0% are 14 point difference. Even Sink would have won this district in 2010, 55.0%/45.0% DEMs have a 9% point registration advantage over Republicans.

    Finally, this district is now 2/3 in Palm Beach County and only 1/3 in Broward.

    Ellyn is going to need to find a new home. Perhaps she’ll run for her old house seat against Moraitis.

  8. I certainly hope she doesn’t stand a chance against any Dem, but DS have a recent history of underperofming in coastal south Florida districts even when the performance numbers favors Ds and Ellyn Bogdanoff has shown she can win Dem votes and raise Dem money in the past. Still I think any D would be favored in this newly configured district.

  9. This is true. I think the issue is that Sachs’ old district has been carved up in a way that hurts the very distinct community of interest she represented. The basic district Sachs currently represents has been around since the 1982 redistricting and it is a crime that they are taking apart the district and hurting southern Palm Beach county. More on this in a future post.

  10. this map will get approved bc of the court being full of gop appointmemts. canady is the chief justice and he is a partisan hack.