A Republican Party of Florida official testified Friday that congressional maps he drew and turned over to a GOP consultant were identical to those submitted to the Legislature by a member of the public months later as lawmakers held hearings on how they should redraw the state’s political lines.
Frank Terraferma was shown his maps alongside those submitted under someone else’s name at a public hearing three months later and agreed that seven congressional districts were the same. But Terraferma, who runs state House campaigns for the state party, said he didn’t know his maps were turned in at the public hearings until seeing them in the courtroom Friday.
The testimony came in the fifth day of a trial to determine whether GOP leaders ignored a 2010 constitutional amendment requiring them to draw congressional districts that do not protect incumbents or members of a certain party. A coalition of groups including the League of Women Voters is suing the Legislature claiming GOP leaders used a “shadow” process to disguise their intention to draw maps to politically benefit Republicans. The new political boundaries were approved in 2012.
Terraferma testified he worked with consultant Rich Heffley and Republican National Committee officials as he prepared maps. Heffley was paid $10,000 a month by the Republican Party of Florida to help with redistricting. But Terraferma said he wasn’t drawing the maps for legislators to consider.
Instead Terraferma, who was often sarcastic during his testimony, said he was drawing maps for a variety of reasons. When asked by lawyer David King for examples, he said, “It’s fun, to be honest with you.”
King questioned whether Terraferma and Heffley intended all along to have a third party turn in the maps so their names wouldn’t be attached to them. Terraferma simply said he didn’t turn in a map himself, but he acknowledged that he could have.
“Every human being in the entire world had the opportunity to submit a map,” Terraferma said.
King then asked, “Is this the first time you’ve ever realized that your work product was contained in public maps?”
Terraferma replied, “Yes.”
Republished with permission of the Associated Press.