On October 14th, just a few days before special session begins, the state legislature released six proposed base maps for its state Senate lines. Each map is different in some areas and similar in others. From these six proposals the Legislature must try to come to an agreement on one final map; something they failed to do with the congressional districts during the summer. Due to the large number of changes across the six distinct maps, only one Senate district is guaranteed to see no change from its current makeup, Senate District 3. A vast majority of voters are going to see their Senate districts change.
Some districts will see large changes while others may only see minor border shifts.
First, I am going to go over each map and its overall partisan and racial makeup to give us a general idea of what we are looking at.
Partisan and Racial Figures
In terms of partisan performance, the maps range from 17 to 20 Obama districts (out of 40). The current Senate map is 17 Obama Senate seats (there is some debate there are 18 Obama seats due to a very narrow margin in one seat). The partisan shift comes from different plans in Orlando, Daytona, and Miami-Dade. While Tampa Bay borders shift, it doesn’t affect who would have won the districts and the margins shift modestly.
Base Map 9070
Plan 9070 has Obama and Romney both winning 20 districts. New Obama seats come from the Orlando region, Daytona, and Miami-Dade.
The racial makeup of this plan is below. Hispanic districts are all clustered in Miami-Dade. Only two districts are majority black voting age population, but several additional districts (light blue) are majority black in Democratic primaries, which will determine the winner for those seats. The racial makeup is very similar for all Senate plans, Hispanic districts in the South, scattered black districts, and no Hispanic district in Central Florida. I will address the issue of a Hispanic district in Central Florida later in this article.
Base Map 9072
Plan 9072 also has three Obama wins in the Orlando area, but none in Daytona and has Romney winning two in Miami-Dade.
Base Map 9074
Plan 9074 also keeps three Obama districts in Orlando, has the Volusia/Daytona design from 9070, and has a similar Miami-Dade setup from 9072, though with shifted borders.
Base Map 9076
Plan 9076 has the same Southeast Florida layout as 9072 while making changes to the Orlando and Daytona area. This leaves Obama with no Daytona seat and losing two Miami seats.
Senate Plan 9078
Plan 9078 has the same Miami layout as 9070, making the whole region blue. Obama doesn’t hold a Daytona seat but wins three Orlando seats.
Senate Plan 9080
Plan 9080 has the same lines for Miami-Dade as 9074, with two Romney districts. Meanwhile, a whole new set of lines are set for Orlando and Daytona.
This grid shows the Presidential numbers for each plan. However, keep in mind district numbers fluctuate with each plan.
How Each Region Will Change
The best way to tackle the large amount of data is region by region. Some areas are similar in multiple plans, while some regions are different in all six. I am going to go through each region and the potential changes. I will point out any glaring problems (see Tampa Bay) when I come to a region. When examining a region, I include a black dot to indicate where an incumbent state senator that is planning to run for re-election lives. senators must live in the districts they run in. I will cite when Senators face problems with the new lines, but will not delve into primaries for open seats and who is affected. That subject will likely be covered in the future. Keep in mind the numbers shift with plans, so note the labeling on the maps when I reference a district number.
The Western Panhandle
The Panhandle will see very minimal changes. Three plans keep the first three Senate Districts exactly the same as they are now, while the other three shift the borders in Okaloosa.
These border shifts shouldn’t affect much if they are enacted. The current Okaloosa borders are the north-south split. Senate District 2 is open.
Each map has different borders for northeast Florida. Some proposals force incumbent senators into the same districts. Every incumbent, other than Gibson, is a Republican. You can see Orlando on the bottom of the map, but I will cover that in a separate section. This region is heavily Republican. Gibson’s African-American district in Duval is the only safe Democratic seat. Meanwhile, the Dayton region is a narrow Obama seat depending on the exact boundaries.
Plan 9070 has Senators Hutson and Bradley drawn into the same district as St Johns and Clay are paired together. Both counties have a similar makeup and the pairing does make sense. Hays has a district based largely out of Marion, Lake and Putnam. Hukill has a narrow Obama district based largely out of Volusia in this plan. The 4th, which includes Gainesville and several rural counties, has no incumbent. The 4th here and in most plans is made up of conservative Democrats and could be in play from a local Democrat. The 8th, which includes Hernando, Sumpter, Citrus, and Levy, has no incumbent either.
9072 manages to keep Hutson and Bradley in separate seats while Hay’s district goes further south and takes Sumpter as well. Meanwhile the 4th continues not to split any counties. Both the 4th and 9th are open and Hukill’s district is Republican, making her safer.
Hutson and Bradley end up in the same district in this plan. Neither the 4th nor 7th split any counties. Hays meanwhile is in a district stretching into Orange, but it is a Republican seat. Hukill sits in a narrow Obama seat under this plan. The remaining districts are open.
Bradley and Hutson are together again, this time taking in more inland area and not just coast. Neither the 4th nor 8th split any counties. Hukill and Hay’s districts both stretch south. This proposal definitely tries to minimize county splits.
Problems with this district are the split of Alachua and the 7th stretching all the way to Sumpter. Hays has a district based out of Marion and Putnam while Hukill goes further south.
The oddest part about this plan is the east-west split of St Johns. While St John’s coast is unique (filled with very expensive homes), the inland region is not that distinct to warrant such a split. Otherwise the map is similar to other proposals.
I am going to go over each plan for the Tampa Bay region, then I will address the following issue; every single plan crosses the bay when it does not need to. In every map a district (sometimes numbered 19, 20. 21 or 22) takes in African-American and Hispanic voters from Tampa and south Saint Petersburg by crossing the water of the bay. The argument is this is needed to create an African-American or coalition seat. I disagree and will address that after going over the six proposals.
The Tampa Bay region of 22 and 21 are similar to their current borders. Brandes will still be based in a Pinellas seat that takes in part of Tampa while Latvala will hold the northern end of the county. Pasco is a single district, which would force Legg and Simpson into a Republican primary. Senator Galvano, the chair of Senator Redistricting, may end up in the same seat as Senator Lee (whose exact address I could not find). Lee may be based out of the North Hillsborough seat. Brandes sits in a narrow Obama seat and could face a challenge in 2016 if every seat winds up being on the ballot.
Plan 9072 is similar to 9070 except the east Hillsborough district goes further north and Manatee has a larger split.
In plan 9074, the biggest difference is Brandes’ district doesn’t cross the bay, but rather Latvala’s seat goes into Tampa from upper Hillsborough while Brande’s seat moves further north.
Plan 9076 no longer keeps Pasco whole. Instead a district takes in part of South Pasco and North Hillsborough. Brandes’ seat stretches further across Tampa in an odd fashion that doesn’t look very pretty. Meanwhile, all of east Hillsborough is in one district and Manatee is made whole. Simpsons and Legg avoid a primary in this map.
This plan keeps Brandes’ district in Pinellas and has Legg’s district stretch in to take the white area of Tampa rather than Latvala’s seat. However, Pasco is now split between 3 districts.
Plan 9080 continues to have a district stretch into the white coastal part of Tampa, but keeps it as part of Pasco. This leaves Legg and Simpson in the same district again. Meanwhile, the east Hillsborough seats stretches into Polk, just missing Stargel’s house (avoiding a primary with Lee).
An African-American Seat in Hillsborough
The Legislature has a district cross the bay from Tampa to south Pinellas in every proposal. Their argument is that this is needed to maintain the African-American seat (currently numbered the 19th) that currently exists and has existed for decades. However, the legislative staff is using out-of-date data. The legislative staff determines if a seat is a minority-access seat by seeing which party controls a district and checking the racial makeup of the primary of the controlling party. In this case Democrats will dominate the seat. The problem is, the staff use primary turnout data that only goes till 2010. This primary data doesn’t factor in major registration increases that took place between 2010 and 2012. While the district building software HAS BEEN UPDATED to include General election data from 2012, it was not updated on primary data. Using 2012 primary data, which followed major minority registration increases, I was able to create a district based just in Hillsborough.
Under these boundaries, just under 60 percent of the primary isn’t white, and African-Americans make up the largest share of the primary. This district and other iterations like it would very likely elect an African-American Democrat, or give African-Americans and Hispanics the power to control the primary.
The only reason to cross the bay is to protect Senator Brandes, who would be in major electoral trouble if his district had to absorb the African Americans of South St Pete.
The issue of Tampa Bay is likely to be a contentious point during the special session and the inevitable trial that follows.
The Orlando region has some districts remaining pretty much the same while others shift quiet a bit. The African-American seat centered in the Northwest edge of Orange only sees slight changes while other districts change around it. One issue that will be debated is the removal of the Hispanic seat centered in Orange and Osceola. According to 2012 primary data, the district was 45 percent Hispanic in the Democratic Primary. The 2010 data being used doesn’t reflect the Hispanic growth in the region. However, the district was not especially compact and some maps do create a coalition district that is much more compact. The issue of a less compact but more diverse district versus a compact but marginally diverse district will likely come up during session.
Plan 9070 has Simmon’s Seminole-based district leave Volusia and stretch a bit into the white suburbs of Orange County. Meanwhile the 13th district is African American, safe Democratic, while the 15th and 19th both gave Obama over 55 percent of the vote. The 19th takes the Hispanic voters of east Osceola, leaving the more conservative parts of the county to the 22nd. The 16th will be open and rumor is Gardner’s wife plans to run. This plan has no coalition district to go along with the 13th.
Plan 9072 has Simmon’s district go into Volusia instead of Orange. The 12th is as African-American seat and the 16th could qualify as a coalition district. The 2012 Democratic primary there was 27.7% Hispanic, 20% African-American, and 46% white. With Hispanic share growing every year (2014 primary was 29.4% Hispanic), a district like this would continue to become more of a coalition.
The 15th district is based out of eastern Orange and along with the 12th and 16th would be an Obama seat.
Plan 9078 is the same for Orange, Seminole and Osceola as 9072 but makes changes to the districts in Polk and Lake, which would change which districts Hays and Stargel will be in.
Plan 9074 has the 12th sneaking in to take Disney World out of Orange County while the 15th goes outside Orange into Brevard, making it an Obama district but slightly less so than in other maps. The 19th is fairly diverse but not a coalition seat in this proposal.
Plan 9076 keeps the 12th and 15th entirely within the county while the 11th again sneaks down to take part of the southwestern edge. The 12th, 15th, and 22nd would be modest Obama districts with both the 15th and 22nd having a significant number of Hispanic voters.
For no logical reason, plan 9080 splits Seminole County by having the 15th stretch into it. Meanwhile, the 17th takes the non-Hispanic areas of Osceola and pairs them with Polk, creating the district Stargel would run in. The 13th would be a potential coalition district. The 2014 and 2012 primary data show the Democratic primary around 47% white and 28% Hispanic and 17% African-American.
Southwest and South Central Florida
For this region I am going to cover district changes in the southwest and the middle-south region of the state. The inland counties of this region are low population and dominated by agriculture while the coastal counties are more suburban. Some interesting parings can happen here.
In 9070, Senator Grimsley’s district pairs rural Highlands, Glades, and Hendry with suburban Collier. This could actually open Grimsley to a primary challenge from hyper-Republican Collier. Meanwhile, Joe Negron’s district pairs St. Lucie and Martin with Okeechobee. Benaquisto’s district remains largely based out of Lee.
In this plan Collier and Lee form their own state senate district. Grimsley’s district is largely rural with the addition of coastal Charlotte County.
This plan is similar to 9074 while making different border shifts. In addition, Negron loses low-populated Okeechobee County for a sliver of Indian-River.
Many borders shift in this plan and Grimsley and Negron wind up in the same seat. Grimsley would be on the short end of the stick against the powerful Senator from Martin County.
Rural Glades and Hendry Counties get paired with coastal Charlotte and Sarasota. Meanwhile Grimsley just misses being paired with Stirgel. Negron’s district has Okeechobee again in this plan.
In the final plan, Grimsley and Negron get paired up again.
Palm Beach and Broward
There are only three distinct plans for Southeast Florida, as the region is the same in two maps each. I am going to go over Broward and Palm Beach separate from Miami Dade. Most of Broward’s senate delegation is retiring, so those most affect by changes in that county are going to be people vying for the open seats. In all plans you can expect the Broward and Palm Beach delegations to remain entirely Democratic.
In 9072 and 9076, Palm Beach is divided into inland and coastal districts. Clemens will likely hold the upper coastal district, including Palm Beach and Jupiter, while Sachs will hold the south Palm Beach coastal area of Boca Raton, Deerfield, and Boyton Beach. Senator Abruzzo shouldn’t have trouble holding the inland district. Under the plan Clemens and Abruzzo are in the inland seat. Clemens would either have to move a few blocks east or face Abruzzo. I could see him making the move. If not the coastal district will be open. Meanwhile in Broward, the 40th is the majority black district while the 34th and 32nd are white Democratic seats based out of the suburbs of the county. The 33rd district is held by Democratic leader designate Oscar Braynon, who should hold that African-American seat.
In 9070 and 9078 the boundaries change slightly. Sachs and Abruzzo are drawn into the same district, potentially setting up a Democratic primary. Meanwhile the inland Palm Beach seat takes in Jupiter and the northern coast of the county. The south Palm Beach seat stretches further into Broward, taking Coconut Creek and part of Deerfield. The 33rd district stretches further into Broward.
In 9074 and 9080, the 33rd stretches further into Broward, taking several additional cities like Cooper City, Davie, and Southwest Ranches. The district is plurality Hispanic, but the primary is majority African-American, so Senator Braynon should win. The 34th is squeezed further to the coast and dips down into Miami-Dade. Sach’s and Abruzzo are not in the same district and her seat resembles her current one in this plan. The inland seat of Palm Beach takes more Coast in the North while Clemens takes in more inland areas.
There are three different plans for Miami-Dade.
Under plans 9070 and 9078, Obama would win all Miami-Dade districts. Braynon would be safe in the 33rd, which is majority black in this plan. The 39th, which would be open, would be majority black in a Democratic primary and heavily Democratic in the fall. Democratic Senator Gwen Margolis, meanwhile, we be fine in the 35th, which gave Obama over 60% of the vote. Garcia, despite his 37th being marginally Obama, would likely have little trouble with re-election in the Hialeah based seat, which is 89% Hispanic and heavily Cuban. Meanwhile, Portilla, Flores and Bullard would all fall in the 36th, also overwhelmingly Hispanic and heavily Cuban. Obama won the seat by a few points but Flores and Portilla’s popularity make them hard to beat. However, one might move to avoid a primary. Bullard, meanwhile, would likely try and move to the 38th, which gave Obama 51%. If Flores or Portilla follow him, it could be a nasty race for a swing seat.
Under Plans 9072 and 9076, Oscar Braynon remains safe in his Broward/Dade district while the 39th will be an open African-American seat. Garcia will be safe in the 37th, which voted for Romney in this map, as will Flores in the 36th. Bullard will likely try and move into the 38th, which is much more Democratic in this proposal. A big showdown could brew between Portilla and Margolis, who will both be in the 35th. The district gave Obama 55% of the vote.
Plans 9074 and 9090 are similar to the previously viewed plans with slight border shifts. In dense Miami-Dade, the smallest border moves can change things significantly. Both the 36th and 37th remain Romney seats and I could see Flores moving north to stay in the 36th. Meanwhile, the 35th, the site of a possible titanic fight, is less Democratic in this map, giving Obama 52.4% of the vote. This map also includes part of the Broward-based 34th stretching along the northern coast of the county.
A great deal is likely to happen during the upcoming three week redistricting session. More proposals could be offered from lawmakers that adopt aspects of these maps or offer new ideals altogether. The final map is far from being certain.
Originally published on Matt Isbell’s site MCIMaps.com.