House Democrats say GOP’s redistricting “fix” isn’t enough

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House Democrats said the new congressional district map pushed through by Republicans on Monday appears to be just as unconstitutional as the map struck down by a judge last month.

House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston said Republicans used a “secretive process” to produce their new map. He hopes that Republicans’ failure to include Democrats in drafting the map and their refusal to adequately fix gerrymandered congressional districts will lead Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis to redraw Florida’s congressional districts himself.

“Frankly, it’s a sad day in the Legislature when we have a circuit court judge find there has been a conspiracy to influence the redistricting process,” Thurston said.

“Let’s let the judge decide this. Let’s let the judge consider redrawing the map, and then let’s start a new process where a third party does this without the unconstitutional violations,” Thurston said.

The new congressional districts map now goes back to Judge Lewis to be scrutinized under the Fair Districts amendments. The amendments were passed by voters in 2010 to prevent gerrymandering of legislatively drawn districts.

“We want to fairly implement Fair Districts,” said Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez (D-Miami). “The back-room deals that got us here have shown us how not to do it, and the map the majority drew does not correct that.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.