TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A Florida House committee proposed a new congressional map in hopes of appeasing concerns Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has about the constitutionality of a Black congressman’s district.
The map approved by the House Congressional Redistricting Committee on Friday would create a Black plurality district in Jacksonville.
The map would still create difficulties for U.S. Rep. Al Lawson’s hopes of being reelected. Lawson lives in Tallahassee. His district extends from Jacksonville to Gadsden County to the west of Florida’s capital city.
DeSantis proposed a map that dismantled Lawson’s district, arguing that it is unconstitutionally gerrymandered. The governor’s map doesn’t contain a Black plurality district in north Florida.
“I am disappointed that Speaker Sprowls caved to the demands of Ron DeSantis to push a partisan, unconstitutional congressional map," Lawson said in a statement Friday after the adoption of the two maps. "Never in our state’s history has the Florida Legislature submitted two maps for review - one that is clearly unconstitutional and a second ‘in case we get caught’ map. The proposed Congressional District Five divides minority communities of interest across North Florida, leaving all Black voters west of Jacksonville unrepresented.”
“Following the Civil War, newly freed African Americans remained in what is now the I-10 corridor where many of their descendants continue to reside. House Bill 7503, as amended, adopts the intent of Ron DeSantis’ unconstitutional map by denying these communities of interest a voice in Congress.”