Dems congressional map would create more minority, more Dem districts
A Times/Herald analysis of the new congressional map submitted Monday in Leon County Circuit Court shows that the proposed districts would create 13 Republican-leaning districts, 11 Democrat-leaning districts and 3 swing districts. That compares to the map created by the Legislature that creates 16 GOP-leaning districts and 9 Democrat-leading districts with only two swing districts.
More significantly, the map shifts the sprawling congressional district now held by U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown into a much more compact district, creates more minority districts than the Legislature's map and does it without reducting the minority population in Brown's map -- leaving it at 48.9 percent black voting age population.
Republicans have argued that the new Fair Districts amendments prevent the state from diminishing the opportunity for a black in Brown's sprawling district to elect a black, regardless of how many other minority seats are created in the rest of the state. How Circuit Judge Terry Lewis rules on this point could be pivotal.
The map was submitted as part of the Florida Democratic Party's lawsuit challenging the congressional plan. The Times/Herald analysis is based on voting data and elections results from the 2008 presidential race and the 2010 governor's race. A look at the proposed population data shows that the Democrat's proposal creates 7 minority majority districts including the following:
* District 11, an Hispanic access seat with 53.3% minority population; it would cover coastal Hillsborough county including Tampa but, unlike the legislative map, would no longer dip over to Pinellas and Manatee to pick up black voters.
* District 26, also an Hispanic access seat, this one based in southern Orlando, Kissimmee and Osceola County. It has a 58.8% minority population.
* District 23, a black access seat with 74.7% minority population an a 57.9 percent minority voting age population. It covers inland Palm Beach and Broward counties with little spurs going into Palm Beach and Ft. Lauderdale. The court has rejected similar spurs on the Senate maps, however.
* District 25, an Hispanic access seta that covers the southern tip of Miami-Dade County and the Keys. It has a 75.7% minority population with a 58.6 percent minority VAP.
* District 21, is another Hispanic access seat with 83.4% minority population and a 68.4 percent minority VAP. It stretches from inland Collier county to western Miami-Dade.
* District 18, is another Hispanic access seat with 84.5% minority population and a 70.5 percent minority voting age population. It includes the southern corner of Miami Dade as well as coastal sections of the county.
* District 17, is a black access district with 89.3% minority population and a 77.1 percent minority voting age population.
-- Darla Cameron and Mary Ellen Klas