DeSantis' Redistricting Map Further Boosts GOP as 2022 Midterms Approach

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis redrew the state's 28 congressional districts, eliminating at least two districts now held by Black Democrats in what he referred to as "a race-neutral manner," as the 2022 midterm elections near.

Florida's already GOP-leaning map is getting an extra push to the right from DeSantis after he vetoed the GOP-controlled legislature's proposed congressional districts on March 29. DeSantis' proposed maps would increase the number of Republican seats while slashing the two Democratic districts represented in north and central Florida.

"I think that what they'll produce will be something that will be acceptable to folks and obviously we'd get my signature for proposing it,'' DeSantis said at a bill-signing press conference, according to Miami Herald. "It will, though, have north Florida drawn in a race-neutral manner."

DeSantis' map focuses on dismantling Florida's 5th Congressional District, which stretches from Jacksonville to Tallahassee. The area is about 47 percent Black, according to the U.S. census, and represented by Black Democrat Al Lawson.

Florida's GOP-leaning congressional map got an extra nudge to the right as Governor Ron DeSantis proposed increasing the number of GOP seats while eliminating at least two districts represented by Black Democrats. Above, DeSantis sits in on a roundtable discussion about the uprising in Cuba, on July 13, 2021, in Miami, Florida. Getty Images

DeSantis' proposal will likely trigger court challenges, but as the August primary looms in the run-up to the November midterms, there isn't much time to change the map.

"Today's revelation is a continued scheme by DeSantis to erase minority access districts in Congress in order to create more seats for the Republican Party," said Lawson. "DeSantis is doing a disservice to Florida voters by playing partisan politics. This latest map clearly violates the Voting Rights Act as well as the U.S. and Florida Constitutions."

DeSantis had demanded Florida's 5th Congressional District to disperse, saying the district was racially gerrymandered.

"I mean, we are not going to have a 200-mile gerrymander that divvies up people based on the color of their skin," DeSantis said to CNN. "That is wrong. That is not the way we've governed in the state of Florida."

DeSantis' map also targets the state's 10th Congressional District represented by Val Demings, another Black Democrat.

Politicians have taken to social media to criticize the governor's congressional map.

"Ron DeSantis just released a gerrymandered, unconstitutional Congressional map," said candidate for Florida State Senate Mike Harvey. "I am running against the GOP chair of the redistricting committee."

"DeSantis released his version of the Congressional map that Ray Rodrigues and all the other Florida legislators are gonna sit down and take," said Congressional candidate Cindy Banyai. "It is a master class in gerrymandering and authoritarian power consolidation. Republicans are poised to pick up 4 seats."

The National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC), which champions neutral maps across the country, also commented on the right-leaning map.

"Following his veto of a congressional map for not being gerrymandered enough, Governor Ron DeSantis has introduced a congressional map that diminishes minority voting power, while cementing a GOP majority," NDRC said.

Newsweek reached out to DeSantis for comment.