For all of the back-slapping and congratulating Florida Democrats offered each other last week after Judge Terry Lewis ruled that the Legislature illegally drew the state’s congressional districts to primarily benefit the Republican Party, what does it matter if they are withdrawn if credible candidates cannot be recruited?
Lewis said in a 41-page ruling that legislators relied on GOP political operatives who worked in secret to craft the final political maps adopted in 2012. Lewis said the presence of two invalid districts rendered the entire congressional map invalid although he said that doesn’t mean that every district must be redrawn.
Even though there are more registered Democrats in the state, Republicans currently hold a 17-to-10 majority in Florida’s congressional delegation. President Barack Obama also won the state in the last two presidential elections, although Republicans have won the last four gubernatorial races.
Let’s assume — and this is a big assumption — that while the entire map is invalid that the solution to redrawing the map is some nipping and tucking in the congressional districts in north-central and northeast Florida. Perhaps this surgery puts a better face on things for Florida Democrats. But how does that explain the Democrats’ problems in other parts of the state where demographics have nothing to do with why they’re losing.
Case in point is Congressional District 13, located in Pinellas County. This should be a winnable seat for Democrats, yet Alex Sink lost to David Jolly in the March special election for CD 13. Then Democrats could not find a credible candidate to run against Jolly this fall, at one point relying on a NPA candidate to carry their standard before he dropped out.
Explain to me how redistricting solves the Democrats problems in CD 13 and other districts where there aren’t credible Democrats willing to run?