In a last-ditch effort to keep Leon County in a single congressional district, Democratic National Committeeman Jon Ausman on Thursday accused Florida House members of knowingly proposing an illegal district map.
Ausman has proposed a 5th District map that would include all of Tallahassee Leon County and stretch across to include parts of Jacksonville. The new map presented by the House and Senate also runs from west to east but includes only parts of Leon County, the rest of which is made up by District 2.
The Legislature lifted its proposal from the League of Women Voters and Common Cause, which filed lawsuits against the state over the congressional district maps. Attorney for the House, George Meros, called the configuration illegal in 2014, Ausman said, but still the Legislature used it in its map.
"Why did your attorney say that the map was illegal, change 26 districits but leave the one district he described as illegal in the map?" Ausman asked, passionately arguing in favor of his District 5 layout, which he says would likely elect a black Democrat to Congress, keeping it a minority-access seat.
"What I am telling you is you're adopting an illegal map as described by your attorney," he told lawmakers on the House panel. "You'll put a stinky rotten apple into the barrel and have tainted the whole thing."