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Recently the Supreme Court declared sections of the voting rights act unconstitutional. This has rightly put Democrats up in arms about how the VRA protects minority voting rights in areas of the country where historically we’ve seen the worst racial discrimination at the polls and in society in general. But let us surmise what right now looks like impossibility (or, at the least, far into the future): southern states where Democrats hold the legislature and governor’s office, and there’s no VRA. That means no more districts that require at least 50% of the voting age population to be African American. That, in turn, means spreading out minority voting groups in ways previously never done.

Under this scenario, I’ve created a Florida gerrymander. This state is particularly juicy for Democrats because the “swing” region (Central FL) is trending Dem with more Hispanics moving in and the Miami Dade area is also seeing swings towards Democrats as older Cubans die off and are replaced by younger Cubans who care less about Fidel Castro and history and thus more open to voting for Democrats. It’s also the largest southern state electorally if we don’t count Texas. A fair districts amendment passed in Florida in 2010 but the Republicans drew a blatant gerrymander anyway using water contiguity and packing African Americans into districts that don’t need packing, according to the VRA. This map does the same to Republicans that they have done to Democrats, but in reverse. We’ve got some water continuity and also completely unpacks the current three black minority districts held by Corrine Brown, Alcee Hastings, and Frederica Wilson. Interestingly, I found that Miami Dade was so incredible Hispanic that I ended up naturally drawing three 50%+ Hispanic VAP districts even when that wasn’t my aim. I drew all districts without regard to incumbents, and then assigned incumbents based on where they live, according to Wikipedia.

1st (blue) 27.3% Black VAP, 52.5% Obama

This district uses water contiguity to connect the liberal parts around Tallahassee with liberal parts of Pensacola. Alan Lawson and Gwynn Graham both live here. The district is liberal enough that Lawson has a decent shot. The liberal precincts in Pensacola have many African Americans in them.
D+0, Lean D with Lawson, Likely D with Graham

2nd (green) 27.3% Obama

Conservative parts of the panhandle. Jeff Miller vs. Steve Southerland primary (both live in the district). Miller has greater seniority and currently represents more of the area. He likely wins the primary.
R+26, Safe R

3rd (dark magenta) 31.6% Obama

Conservative areas of Jacksonville and its suburbs. Both Ron DeSantis and Ander Crenshaw live here. I’m not sure who wins but it looks like Crenshaw represents more of the area currently.
R+21, Safe R

4th (red) 33.3% Black VAP, 61.3% Obama

Democratic Jacksonville and Democratic Gainesville. I did not set out to make Corinne Brown happy but I would imagine she’d be quite happy with this district (the other option contains this district to Jacksonville making it less Democratic but a moderate Dem could win it, i.e. not Corinne Brown). I would like to see Brown out but she’d stick around and win this district.
D+8, Safe D

5th (gold) 52.2% Obama

A brand new district ripe for an opportunity. Liberal areas on the east coast paired with choice liberal areas inland and uses water contiguity to pick out the only liberal areas in Brevard County. John Mica used to represent a good swath of this area but his home in Winter Park isn’t even in a neighboring congressional district. And the district I drew where I think Mica runs is probably a better fit for him. Our old friend Suzanne Kosmas lives here and represented a good portion when she was in congress.
R+1, Lean D with Kosmas, Tossup otherwise

6th (teal) 37.4% Obama

I really would love to have Ted Yoho out of congress but he lives in this district and it wasn’t easy to pair him with a Republican incumbent. So Yoho stays in-he might be good for Dems as a way to get money like Allen West was or Michelle Bachmann or Louis Gohmert.
R+16, Safe R

7th (dark gray) 22.7% Hispanic VAP, 52.5% Obama

Red inland areas of northeast Florida paired with liberal areas east of Orlando. This is where I suspect John Mica would run. He still doesn’t live here…I purposefully put his home in a more liberal district to hurt him…but he has a decent chance. His current seat was 49.2% Obama in 2008 and 47.1% Obama in 2012 but he has a tendency to overperform the Republican ticket. His toughest district yet, but he could hold it. The district will probably trend D as more Hispanics move in.
D+0, Lean R with Mica, Tossup Otherwise

8th (slate blue) 22.9% Black VAP, 54.1% Obama

Very liberal parts of Orlando combines with liberal and African American portions of Ocala. Just to make them throw a fit, I threw the very conservative The Villages into this district. It’s unclear if Alan Grayson lives here but I would like him to coordinate with Val Demmings and have him run in the 9th. The 8th has a sizeable African American population and it’s perfect for Demmings, who is in fact African American. Daniel Webster, who beat Val Demmings in 2012, lives here but he’s doomed here. He can run somewhere else (though it won’t be smooth for him).
D+2, Likely D with Demmings, Lean D otherwise

9th (cyan) 30.1% Hispanic VAP, 55.0% Obama

Conservative parts of Seminole County paired with more conservative parts of Orange County (compared to the parts in the 8th) but still Dem-leaning, and liberal parts of Osceola County. It also contains Winter Park, where John Mica lives. This district is less black than the 8th, and slightly more liberal. Grayson has gotten much more tolerable in terms of personality during his second stint in congress compared to his first, but he cuts a profile that probably comes across as more to the left than Demmings. Therefore, he also should get the more liberal district. If Grayson keeps doing what he’s been doing, he’s more likely to hold this seat. John Mica could run here, as he lives here, but I think he runs somewhere less blue.
D+3, Likely D in all cases, but Grayson should run here

10th (deep pink) 43.6% Obama

Conservative areas north and east of Tampa. Daniel Webster lives just outside of this district but he could run here since there’s some overlap with his old district in southern Lake County and northern Polk County. The problem for him is Rich Nugent lives here too, and Nugent represents more of the area to the west than Webster. Dan Webster vs Rich Nugent primary. I give Nugent the edge.
R+9, Safe R

11th (chartreuse) 55.0% Obama

I suspect some people aren’t going to like what I did to the Tampa-St Pete area but the point was to create districts like this one and the 16th. The 11th picks up all of the most liberal areas of Pasco and Hernando Counties, then drops south picking up conservative areas of northern Pinellas and northwestern Hillsborough counties to then get very liberal areas of Tampa just north of downtown. The problem here is the geography could provide contentious contents (suburbs to the northwest vs urban areas of Tampa). I wasn’t drawing this for her, but could be a good district for Amanda Murphy, who just won a special election in the FL House. Gus Bilirakis represents a lot of the area and might live here but I think he runs in the 13th.
D+2, Likely D

12th (cornflower blue) 54.8% Obama

Liberal Tampa combined with areas just to the east and north. Kathy Castor should be fine.
D+2, Likely D

13th (dark salmon) 52.8% Obama

The current and previous FL Republican gerrymanders cut out downtown St. Pete to give Bill Young a safe district (for him). In light of his retirement, we now have a fighting chance in the district even without downtown St. Pete (if downtown was included, this would be a Safe D district). So what I’ve done for this district is actually a bit of a Republican gerrymander so Democrats have a shot at the 16th. The district cuts out liberal downtown St. Pete but also several conservative precincts along the western shore. A moderate republican could win here but they’ve been crazy lately. Gus Bilirakis is the man the Republicans need to have a shot. However, Bilirakis hasn’t represented much of the area (he may live here) and Jessica Ehrlich has proven to have some backbone, as she gave Young a run for his money in 2012 and got into the race before Young retired. Bilirakis’s current district leaned slightly R (45-47% Obama) so he’s not used to running on Obama turf.
R+0, Genuine Tossup/Tilt D if I had to lean it

14th (olive) 44.4% Obama

Southwestern Charlotte County, Lee County, and LaBelle. Trey Radel is safe.
R+9, Safe R

15th (dark orange) 41.5% Obama

Inland conservative areas of western Florida (east of I-75 for the most part). Includes Port Charlotte. Dennis Ross lives in Lakeland, and parts of Lakeland are in this district. Ross would need to worry about a primary challenger from Hillsborough or Port Charlotte but otherwise, this is his district.
R+11, Safe R

16th (lime) 53.9% Obama

Coastal western Pinellas County, downtown St. Pete, and coastal Manatee and Sarasota counties. Vern Buchanan lives here but he’d have a hard time winning, because of ethics and the new district. Keith Fitzgerald could run here, but so could Jessica Ehrlich  (and this district is slightly more left-leaning than the 13th). The Dem needs to at least be moderate/New Dem-like.
D+1, Lean D

17th (dark slate blue) 55.2% Hispanic VAP, 36.6% Obama

Collier County and conservative areas to the northeast combined with conservative sections of Miami-Dade. Mario Diaz Balart might live here, and it’s the best district for any of the Republican reps from Miami to run. However, the person needs to worry about a conservative primary challenger from the Naples area.
R+16, Safe R

18th (yellow) 55.0% Obama

Northeastern Palm Beach County, eastern Martin and St. Lucie counties. I’m going to have to leave Patrick Murphy and Lois Frankel to work things out since they both live here. We owe it to Murphy for knocking off Allen West in a more conservative district but Murphy is also a former Republican and votes more conservatively thank Frankel (unsure if that’s because Murphy is more conservative or because his district is more conservative than hers). My personal desire is for Frankel to run here since Murphy lives closer (but not that close) to the 21st, where he could run.
D+2, Likely D

19th (yellow green) 43.7% Obama

Conservative parts of Brevard, Osceola, and Indian River counties. Bill Posey lives here.
R+9, Safe R

20th (pink) 59.0% Obama

Most of Palm Beach County combined with conservative areas to the north and northwest. Ted Deutch lives here. So does Adam Hasner, who ran against Frankel last year and is looking to move up. But he has no chance in anything around him.
D+6, Safe D

21st (maroon) 55.3% Obama

This convoluted district combines liberal parts of St. Lucie and Polk counties with a bunch of nothingness in between that’s very conservative. This is where Patrick Murphy could run, but he’d face carpetbagging charges and it would really be a contest between a Democrat from Lakeland or Winter Haven and one from St. Lucie County. But the Democrat who wins the primary should be liberal, as this district can handle that.
D+2, Likely D

22nd (sienna) 64.4% Obama

Coastal Broward County and parts of southern Palm Beach County. Adam Hasner actually might live here, but he won’t win here. No  incumbents live in this district so who could run? Should be a liberal Dem.
D+11, Safe D

23rd (aquamarine) 22.0% black VAP, 26.5% Hispanic VAP, 66.8% Obama

Western Broward County (west of Turnpike). I’ve left no place for Frederica Wilson, since I’m not carving out a majority-minority seat for her. Perhaps should could run here? Debbie Wasserman Schultz doesn’t live here but she’s nearby and could run in the 23rd and allow Wilson to run in the 24th.
D+14, Safe D

24th (indigo) 26.4% black VAP, 44.2% Hispanic VAP, 68.4% Obama

Parts of Broward County and northern Miami Dade. This is the most liberal district in the entire state. Debbie Wasserman Schultz lives here. As I mentioned, Frederica Wilson lives in North Miami, I believe. She could run here as she’s not too far away.
D+16, Safe D

25th (pale violet red) 25.7% black VAP, 58.3% Hispanic VAP, 67.3% Obama

Hollywood, North Miami Beach, Hialeah. I’m pretty sure Alcee Hastings lives here, in Miramar. He could face a primary from someone who lives further south in the Hispanic sections, and he might be an underdog. Still has a substantial black population though.
D+14, Safe D

26th (gray) 63.1% Hispanic VAP, 59.1% Obama

Northeastern Miami Dade, North Miami, snaking down to Coral Gables, South Miami, and some points west. Illeana Ros Lehtinen may live here. Between these southern Miami-Dade districts, this one is the least Obama-leaning. I’m not really sure even she can hold a 59% Obama district.
D+6, Likely D with Ros-Lehtinen, Safe D without her

27th (spring green) 50.8% Hispanic VAP, 61.0% Obama

Coastal areas around Miami, including Miami Beach, down south to Homestead and the Keys. Illeana Ros Lehtinen could live here but I made this for Joe Garcia. Even with some ethic trouble surrounding his former COS, he should be safe here as long as he stays ethical.
D+8, Safe D

Right now the FL delegation is 10-17. If in 2014 we take out Southerland and take Bill Young’s seat while Murphy and Garcia hold on, it will be 12-15. This map creates a 16-8-3 delegation. If Mica and Bilirakis didn’t run and Kosmas ran, we could have 19-8 Dem. I acknowledge the 5th, 7th, and 13th could be trouble for us. The many 54-55% Obama districts I drew could fall to a Republican in a mild red wave.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Interesting map (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WisJohn

    As much as it may seem amusing, I'd suggest removing The Villages from any district that you want to vote for a Democrat. The Villages is not only extremely Republican, but it's growing as well. Just swap it out for less conservative parts of Marion County.

    Also, nice job with the Lakeland-to-Port St. Lucie district. I hadn't thought of that idea in the past. However, there's one slight problem: it leaves Dem-voting Palm Bay in a Republican district. If that could be remedied, that would be awesome.

    (-8.38, -4.72), CT-02 (home), ME-01 (college) "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." -Spock

    by ProudNewEnglander on Wed Oct 16, 2013 at 02:18:11 PM PDT

    •  thanks (0+ / 0-)

      I tried to put Palm Bay in but it's messing up the other districts too much because the 21st really only captures blue areas. And Palm Bay is blue but around 55% Obama. If they were 65% Obama it might be worth swapping more around but I can't get the population equity right.

  •  Though I HATE water contiguity (0+ / 0-)

    I like what you've done.

  •  Um (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BeloitDem, fearlessfred14

    I'm left wondering if you realize your premise isn't correct. The Supreme Court only found that the particular formula used for preclearance wasn't constitutional, but left every single other thing intact. Majority-minority districts are still required.

    23 Burkean Post Modern Gay Democrat; NM-2 (Raised), TX-20 (B.A. & M.A. in Political Science), TX-17 (Home); 08/12 PVIs

    by wwmiv on Wed Oct 16, 2013 at 03:46:55 PM PDT

  •  The best way to deal with Gainsville for Dems (0+ / 0-)

    IMO, is to split it between Jacksonville and Tallahassee Districts.

    like this

  •  Are D+1 and D+2 districts "Likely D"? (0+ / 0-)

    I'd think, particularly given the stark generational divides many of these districts will have, that they might be quite vulnerable in midterms.

    Male, 23, -4.75/-6.92, born and raised TN-05, now WI-02. "You're damn right we're making a difference!" - Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin)

    by fearlessfred14 on Wed Oct 16, 2013 at 07:46:55 PM PDT

  •  It's Gwen Graham, not Gwynn. (0+ / 0-)

    Other than that, I like the idea and execution, though maybe you'd be better served cutting one district loose in the I-9 corridor to make the rest of your Dem seats safer.

    Good job!

    25, Practical Progressive Democratic Socialist (-9.38, -8.51), Gay, IN-02 - Defeat Wacky Jackie!

    by HoosierD42 on Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 02:24:22 AM PDT

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