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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

It's now 6 maps to 1 -- does legislature call for another session to vote?



CPS2aAs the life size chess match that is Florida redistricting keeps playing out the next question is, will there be another special session?

The challengers have submitted six new maps and, based on preliminary analysis, it's clear their plans all draw 20 districts that favor Democrats and 20 that favor Republicans. (see pdfs below)

Meanwhile, Senate President Andy Gardiner said Thursday he chose to submit to the court a single Senate map, with pieces of two "base maps" that were drawn by staff, because "it's all recorded."

"For me, you go with base maps because you have a record – it’s all recorded, at least on the Senate side -- and it’s a Senate product,'' Gardiner told the Herald/Times when we caught up with him outside the Senate Republican office.

So what's the next move? One option being discussed is to call a quickie special session to give the imprimatur of legislative approval to the Senate map when lawmakers convene for committee week Nov. 30. That would give them time to get legislative approval for a map before the redistricting trial convenes on Dec. 14.

"I haven't thought that far,'' said Gardiner, R-Orlando, when asked by the Herald/Times. "I’m thinking turkey and getting the deep fryer ready."

But he is prepared to consider it.

"The members, probably over the holidays have to decide, what do we do?'' he said. "Do you have time to maybe re-evaluate or do we just go forward with that and see what the judge does." 

One factor that could play into the calculation is they now know what the challengers in the case, the coalition of the League of Women Voters, Common Cause of Florida and six Democrat-leaning individuals, are offering up.
According to a political performance analysis of the coalition maps by Matt Isbell of MCI maps, 20 of the districts gave Republican Mitt Romney a majority in 2012 election, and 20 of them gave Democrat Barack Obama a majority.
Twenty six of the districts are identical in every map, and only 14 have varying degrees of party performance. One district, 17 in Tampa, gave neither party a majority in the 2012 presidential race, but it leans Democratic.
Gardiner said the Senate chose not to submit the map 9124 that passed the full Senate but was rejected by the House because "the South Florida piece was a challenge."
"You have to think about: what is the best record that you can present to the court and which one is the most defensible with recordings, with base maps,'' he said. "The reality is…nobody’s asking the plaintiffs how they’re building their maps. Nobody’s asking who they are talking to. Are they looking at performance? 

We get criticized as they should.



"So for me it was, okay Judge Reynolds, if you’re going to make it based on how the decisions were made, the base maps are the best. Then, I said let’s combine the base maps to address the issues in South Florida and that’s how I got to that."

For your viewing pleasure, here are the six challengers' maps as run through the legislature's My District Builder software:

[Last modified: Thursday, November 19, 2015 2:58pm]


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