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Documents reveal shadow redistricting process to draw Senate maps

The shadow redistricting process that brought down the congressional map was also in full swing in the Senate, depositions and email documents submitted as part of pending litigation now reveal.

The documents, filed Wednesday in Leon County Circuit Court (Volume 1, Volume 2) as part of a pending lawsuit over the Senate map, show that Republican operatives faked "public" submissions, forwarded maps to Senate staff, and created Republican-leaning pieces that became the foundation of the adopted Senate redistricting plan.

The same tactics emerged in the congressional redistricting trial that led to the Florida Supreme Court's ordering the maps redrawn in a special session that ends this week.

Documents show that the elaborate plan, involving staffing up public hearings with fake testimony and building maps in the shadows, involved many of the same Republicans advisors who influenced the congressional plan — long-time political consultant Rich Heffley, Gainesville-based operative Pat Bainter and Republican Party of Florida advisor Frank Terraferma.

But testimony also shows the degree to which former Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, was aware of the process.

According to depositions and documents obtained by the Herald/Times, Heffley and Terraferma were producing maps and forwarding them to Senate staff more than a month before the Senate released its single proposed map on Nov. 28. And before the public release of that map, Gaetz was privately conducting secret briefings with individual senators, via video conference, in which they would discuss possible alterations to the proposed Senate map. Herald/Times exclusive here.