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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rep. Ron DeSantis: Easy-to-win congressional districts 'shortsighted' for GOP

U.S. Rep. Ron Desantis, Republican candidate for Senate

Mary Ellen Klas, Times/Herald

U.S. Rep. Ron Desantis, Republican candidate for Senate



Republicans have been “shortsighted” to draw congressional districts that have large populations of GOP voters and are easier for the party win.

U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, a Republican candidate for the Senate, said Wednesday that his party has created long-term problems for itself by working with black Democrats in redistricting, making maps that benefit both groups.

“It guarantees certain Republican seats,” he said at a Tallahassee press event put on by the Associated Press (which you can follow along with live here). “That’s been a little shortsighted for Republican voters.”

There are short-term gains — namely, winning a particular election or maintaining a majority — but it makes GOP congressional hopefuls less likely to interact with large swaths of the voters in the state.

For his part, DeSantis was reelected to his northeast Florida seat in 2014 with 62.5 percent of the vote.

But he says that Republican candidates especially need to get out in the community and interact with diverse groups.

“I think a lot of people say, ‘Don’t show up here, don’t show up there, because you’re going to lose those votes,’” DeSantis said. “You can get elected to Congress without ever talking to black voters at all, and I think that’s bad for the party.”

This hits at the heart of one of the biggest challenges in redrawing congressional districts, a process that is currently before the Supreme Court, which will hear a case over the maps on Nov. 2: Drawing certain majority-minority districts and keeping partisanship out of the process.

More competitive districts means that Republicans and Democrats could lose certain guaranteed seats.

Those losses could be worth it in the long run, said DeSantis, especially as the state’s demographics continue to shift.

“It may make some of the immediate elections a little more difficult,” he said. “But I think you start developing the conversation and start articulating your principles."

[Last modified: Wednesday, October 14, 2015 10:56am]


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