Friday, July 17, 2015

Florida Redistricting from the Democratic Perspective

Earlier in July, Democrats got exciting news! The Florida congressional map the Republicans drew was ruled unconstitutional by the Florida Supreme Court, meaning that the legislature would have to redraw the districts. The specific districts are the 5th, 10th, 13th, 14th, 20-22 and 25-27. The 5th district needs to be redrawn because it has a tendril from Jacksonville traveling nearly 200 miles south to Orlando. The 14th and 13th district because the 14th represents Tampa but goes into Pinellas County to keep heavily African American areas out of the swing 13th district. 20-22 because of how Hendry County (rural southern Florida) is split and how 21-22 need to be north/south instead of east/west. 25 because of Hendry County, 26-27 because the city of Homestead should not be split. In 2010, 63% of Florida's voters passed the "Fair Districts Amendment" that would force the legislature to not consider partisanship when redrawing lines. They should have passed a measure similar to California's where they have a commission with Democrats and Republicans who need to draw a map together. That would  prevent any underlying partisan agenda. The 2012 map had that though as shown by packing Democrats into the 5th and 14th districts but my redraw will attempt to redraw the map fairly and represent communities of interest (communities with similar issues, demographics and proximity) as much as possible. This is similar to the California model which has compact districts following the VRA, representing communities of interest and having many competitive districts.

I know this map is hypothetical because as history shows, Republicans will try to prevent Democratic gains in Florida as much as possible. This map though is what the Democrats should propose as a map that follows all the rules of the Florida Supreme Court's requirements and is not a gerrymander (I will post a Florida gerrymander soon but that is an entirely different diary and much more hypothetical). 

Florida's current map (before the changes): https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/FL

The map: (with Gainesville in 5th district)

Data (with Gainesville in 5th distict)




(all data on this map is either from Dave's Redistricting App or from Stephen Wolf, an editor for Daily Kos Elections). 

Notes: the 2012 Presidential data was calculated by county and trends were extrapolated from 2008 data so the 2012 data may not be 100% accurate for large counties such as Miami Dade. 

Florida's 1st District: Jeff Miller (R) Safe R (blue)
No change, moving along now. Democrats will win Utah before they win this district.

(with Gainesville option)

The Gainesville option is when the 5th district is redrawn "east to west" by combining Gainesville which is the west and creating an African American 18+ that is higher than 50% of the district's Democratic vote to give them a majority in the primary. Gainesville is west but it is also south (the Supreme Court asked the legislature to not draw south) but Gainesville is closer to Jacksonville, is more of a community of interest and a district combining both would be more compact. At the same time, the court may require a district to Tallahassee in order to ensure that an African American is elected to the House.

Florida's 2nd District Gwen Graham (D) Tilt Democratic (Green)

(18+ population) 68% W, 24% AA, 5% H
Obama 47.8%, McCain 52.2%
Obama 47.3%, Romney 52.7%

Graham will undoubtedly face a tough race in this district that President Obama lost both times. I expect a vary narrow win for her however due to how she was able to win this district in 2014 when Democrats across the country were losing. She was one of the two Democrats to defeat a Republican incumbent in 2014.


Florida's 3rd District Ted Yoho (R) Safe Republican

(18+ population) 785 W, 13% AA, 6% H
Obama 33.4%, McCain 66.6%
Obama 32.1%, Romney 67.9%

Undoubtedly one of the biggest winners here, Yoho maintains most of his current district and remains safe from any Democratic challenge and most likely safe from a primary challenge.


Florida's 4th District Ander Crenshaw (R) Safe Republican

18+ population 81% W, 9% AA, 6% H
Obama 34.7%, McCain 65.3%
Obama 32.9%, Romney 67.1%

Still heavily Republican, still representing suburban Jacksonville. Crenshaw should have no worries.


Florida' 5th District Corrine Brown (D) Safe Democratic

(18+ population) 53% W, 33% AA, 8% H
Obama 62.7%, McCain 37.3%
Obama 61.3%, Romney 38.7%

This district represents parts of Jacksonville and Gainesville with high African American populations. The change in district territory may prompt a primary challenger. Without having run a competitive race in nearly 20 years and only $22,000 in the bank account, Brown is in a tight spot. The district though will likely have an African American majority in the Democratic primary which may be what the commission requires to elect an African American Democrat.


Florida's 11th District Rich Nugent (R) Safe Republican

(18+ population) 84% W, 6% AA, 8% H
Obama 43.4%, McCain 56.6%
Obama 40.4%, Romney 59.6%

(without Gainesville option)



Data (without Gainesville option)



Florida's 2nd District: Vacant (Ted Yoho (R)?) Safe R
(18+ population) W 80%, AA 12%, H 4%
Obama 34.1%, McCain 65.9%
Obama 33.4%, Romney 66.6%

The 2nd district becomes more Republican with the removal of Tallahassee and the addition of Republican rural counties in the central northern part of Florida. While these counties may be less Republican downballot, long gone are the days when Democrats could win a 34% Obama district. Gwen Graham (D) is the incumbent but she will not run here without her Tallahassee base. A Republican will succeed her. 

+1 Republican. 

Florida's 3rd District: Ted Yoho (R)? Safe R
(18+ population) W 72%, AA 14%, H 8%
Obama 45.1%, McCain 54.9%
Obama 42.5%, Romney 57.5%

The 3rd district drops from 61% to 57% Romney with the addition of all of heavily Democratic Gainesville. At the same time, the district represents heavily Republican Jacksonville suburbs in Clay and St. Johns County with no history of electing Democrats. Rep. Yoho can say "yahoo" because he is not losing to a Democrat in this 57% Romney district (but he should watch out for a primary). 

Florida's 4th District Ander Crenshaw (R) Safe R
(18+ population) W 78%, AA 10%, H 6%
Obama 36.1%, McCain 63.9%
Obama 34.6%, Romney 65.4%

The 4th district loses heavily Republican precincts in Clay County and exchanges them for more heavily Republican precincts in St. Johns County (and a few Democratic precincts in St. Augustine). While I feel bad for my Democratic relatives in St. Augustine, this district will remain safely Republican. 

Florida's 5th District Gwen Graham (D) vs. Corrine Brown (D) Tossup between two Democrats
(18+ population) W 47.2% AA 42.4% H 6.0%
Obama 64.5%, McCain 35.5%
Obama 63.9%, Romney 36.1%

While an ideal Democratic proposal would not link Tallahassee and Jacksonville, the court's decision required "east to west" so if the Democrats chose that interpretation, they would draw this district. The new 5th district loses the snake to Orlando and Gainesville and instead gains a snake through some rural counties to Tallahassee. It is impossible to draw an African American pluarity seat so I opted for a minority majority seat. Rep. Brown represents Jacksonville and Rep. Graham represents Tallahassee and they will likely primary each other. Brown has fought against dismantling her gerrymandered district and netting an extra Democratic seat in Orlando. Also, Graham could run for Governor in 2018 and she won a swing district in 2014, the worst possible year for Democrats showing she has the skills to win statewide. So I am obviously supporting Graham. Most of the Democratic primary (roughly 60%-66%) should be African American, potentially making it difficult for Graham but Brown has only raised $22,000 and Graham won a difficult race in 2014 (Brown has not won a competitive race in over 20 years) so Graham has a chance. Furthermore, another African American candidate could see Brown's weakness and run, creating an easier path for Graham. 

Florida's 6th District Vacant Tossup/Tilt Democratic
(18+ population) W 76%, AA 11%, H 10%
Obama 53.2%, McCain 46.8%
Obama 49.9%, Romney 50.1%

The 6th district loses heavily Republican Putnam and St. Johns Counties and gains Democratic leaning Deltona in Volusia County and Democratic Sanford in Seminole County. These changes bring Romney's margin from 16.4% to 0.2%, making it the closest district in Florida in the 2012 Presidential election. Both Flagler and Volusia Counties in the district are swing counties, supporting Obama in 2008 narrowly and Romney in 2012 narrowly. The district also better represents communities of interest because the old district combined Jacksonville suburbs with Daytona Beach nearly 100 miles away while the new one combines Orlando suburbs only 30 miles away from Daytona. The representative for the old 6th district (58% Romney) is freshman Ron DeSantis (R) who is running for Senate. A potential Democratic candidate for the 6th district is young Daytona Beach mayor Derrick Henry (D) who represents the largest city in the district and the center of Volusia County, one of the closest counties in Florida. The Republicans may nominate one of the many legislators from Flagler and Volusia Counties. Expect both parties to heavily invest in this district. In the end, I expect a very narrow Democratic win because it will be a Presidential year and the Democrats won 48% of the House vote here in 2012 even though neither district was contested by Democrats. This district could flip in 2018.

+0 Democrats (1 Gainesville)



Tampa/Orlando

Florida's 7th District John Mica (R) Safe Republican
(18+ population) W 73%, AA 8%, H 14%
Obama 45.8%, McCain 54.2%
Obama 44.2%, Romney 55.8%

Rep. Mica's district trades Democratic Sanford for Republican Lake County. Life is good for him, 

Florida's 8th District Bill Posey (R) Safe Republican
No change. 

Florida's 9th District Vacant (Darren Soto (D)?) 
W 44%, AA 9%, H 41%
Obama 60.5%, McCain 39.5%
Obama 61.7%, Romney 38.3%
With current Rep. Alan Grayson (D) running for Senate and making life harder for fellow Senate candidate Rep. Patrick Murphy (D), there will be a primary here. Soto as a legislator who ran previously has a strong shot. 

Florida 10th District Rep. Daniel Webster (R) vs. Val Demmings (D)?) Safe Democratic
(18+ population) 51% W, 24% AA, 18% Hispanic
Obama 59.6%, McCain 40.4%
Obama 59.4%, Romney 40.6%

The new 10th district unites the heavily African American neighborhoods in Orlando with nearby Orange County neighborhoods instead of Jacksonville neighborhoods more than 100 miles away from Orlando. As a result, the 10th now voted 59% for Obama. Rep. Webster can either run here and get demolished by 2012 candidate and former Orlando Police Chief Val Demmings (D) (she lost by 4 points in 2012 in Webster's 54-46 Romney district, running ahead of President Obama showing she is a strong candidate) or Webster can run in the 7th which contains a small percentage of his current district and get demolished by the entrenched Rep, Mica. Life is not good for Webster. 

+1 Democrats (2 Gainesville)

Florida's 11th District Rich Nugent (R) Safe Republican
(18+ population) W 86%, AA 5%, H 7%
Obama 42.5%, McCain 57.5%
Obama 39.6%, Romney 60.4%

Other than a few adjustments in Republican Marion County, the 11th does not change. It remains safely Republican. 

Florida's 12th District Gus Bilrakis (R) Safe Republican
(18+ population) W 83%, AA 3%, H 9%
Obama 47.9%, McCain 52.1%
Obama 46.6%, Romney 53.4%

Other than a few minor adjustments in southern Pinellas and easternn Pasco Counties, the district does not change and remains heavily Republican downballot. 

Florida's 13th District Vacant Likely Democratic
(18+ population) W 78%, AA 11%, H 7%
Obama 56.3%, McCain 43.7%
Obama 55.0%, Romney 45.0%

Originally, the old 13th District voted for President Obama by 2 points in 2012 and represented all of southern Pinellas County except for some heavily African American neighborhoods in St. Petersburg which were placed in the 14th district representing Hillsborough. This violated communities of interest and partisan intent so the 13th gained the heavily African American neighborhoods. Rep. David Jolly (R) bailed and is running in the Republican Senate primary which seems to get new candidates each minute. Former Gov. Charlie Crist (D) suggested he may run for the 13th. He won Pinellas County by 11 points in his 2014 Gubernatorial bid so he has a strong chance to win. 

+1 Democrats

Florida's 14th District Kathy Castor (D) Safe Democratic 
(18+ population) 49% W, 19% AA, 26% Hispanic
Obama 61.7%, McCain 38.3%
Obama 61.5%, Romney 38.5%

The district is entirely within Hillsborough County,  representing communities of interest with Tampa and its close in suburbs. The 14th remains safely Democratic. 

Florida's 15th District Dennis Ross (R) Safe Republican
18+ population 71% W, 12% AA, 14% H
Obama 44.4%, McCain 55.6%
Obama 44.1%, Romney 55.9%

The district makes a few small adjustments but remains Republican and safe for Ross. 

Florida's 16th District Vern Buchanan (R) Safe Republican 
18+ population 80% W, 6% AA, 12% H
Obama 48.5%, McCain 51.5%
Obama 45.7%, Romney 54.3%

The district extends into Hillsborough County in order to prevent the 17th District from violating communities of interest and representing part of Hillsborough County. The district shifts 0.5% more Democratic and while the district saw competitive races in the late 2000s, Buchanan appears entrenched and should be safe. 

Florida's 17th District Tom Rooney (R) Safe Republican
18+ population 76% W, 7% AA, 14% H
Obama 44.3%, McCain 55.7%
Obama 41.9%, Romney 58.1%

The district swaps rural Hendry County for part of coastal Lee County and remains strongly Republican. 

Florida's 18th District Vacant Tossup
No Change

This district voted narrowly for Romney in 2012 and narrowly for President Obama in 2008. Rep. Murphy (D) won here in 2014 by 20 points however showing that voters here will side with a Democrat who brings the right message. The race is still developing.

South Florida



Florida's 19th District Curt Clawson (R) Safe Republican
18+ population 78% W, 6% AA, 14% H
Obama 43.3%, McCain 56.7%
Obama 40.0%, Romney 60.0%

Very minor changes here. The 19th lost a few Collier County precincts and gained a few in Lee. It still remains heavily Republican. 

Florida's  20th District Alcee Hastings (D) Safe Democratic
18+ population 30% W, 47% AA, 19% H
Obama 81.5%, McCain 18.5%
Obama 80.9%, Romney 19.1%

A few small changes but still remains majority African American and heavily Democratic. Moving along...


Florida's 21st District Ted Deutch (D)? Safe Democratic

18+ population W 68%, AA 10%, H 17%
Obama 58.4%, McCain 41.6%
Obama 58.0%, Romney 42.0%

The district loses all of Broward County and gains Palm Beach coastline, becoming a few points more Republican but remains Democratic.


Florida's 22nd District Lois Frankel (D)? Safe Democratic

18+ population W 68%, AA 10%, H 18%
Obama 62.7%, McCain 37.3%
Obama 59.3%, Romney 40.7%

This district gains the more Jewish parts of Broward County. It remains strongly Democratic.


Florida's 23rd District Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) Safe Democratic

No changes.

Florida's 24th District Frederica Wilson (D) Safe Democratic

No changes, Frederica Wilson will continue to delight the capitol with her hats.


South Florida zoomed in


Florida's 25th District Mario Diaz Barlet (R) Safe Republican

18+ population W 24%, AA 5%, H 68%
Obama 43.6%, McCain 56.4%
Obama 44.5%, Romney 55.5%
There are very minor changes as it loses Hendry County for VRA reasons. The Democrats will not dismantle the string to heavily Republican Collier County in order to keep swingy FL-18 within Palm Beach County.

Florida's 26th District Carlos Cueblo (R) Lean Democratic

18+ population W 20%, AA 11%, H 66%
Obama 54.3%, McCain 45.7%
Obama 57.3%, Romney 42.7%

This district becomes more Democratic as it gains areas with non Cuban Hispanics and consolidates communities of interest by representing neighborhoods below Highway 90 instead of simply splitting Democratic and Republican ones with the 27th. With these changes, the 2008 Obama percentage increases from 49.5% to 54.3%. I wanted to add more heavily Cuban areas around University Park into the 27th which would increase the Democratic percentage to 56% but that would increase teh 27th district to 80% Hispanic which could generate a lawsuit for packing. My goal was to keep the 26th district at 65% Hispanic or higher. Democrats won this district in 2012 and lost it in 2014 but with these changes, this already swingy district is now more Democratic and should elect one.


+3 Democrats (4 for Gainesville)

Florida's 27th District Illeana Ros Lehtinen (R) Safe Republican
18+ population 17% W, 3% AA, 78% H
Obama 44.7%, McCain 55.3%
Obama 48.6%, Romney 51.4%

Rather than waiting for entrenched and moderate Lehtinen to retire, the 27th district becomes more Republican and combines more communities of interest within the Miami area. This is Lehtinen's district for as long as she wants.


Overall, the Democrats will gain 1-3 seats under the new map, depending on how FL-18 and FL-6 vote. If the court upholds the Gainesville option, then the number increases to 2-4 seats. This could give the Democrats as many as 14 seats or as few as 11, depending how 2016 is. 

1 comment:

Ed said...

I think everything south of Ocala is fine. You needlessly complicate things by your "put Gainesville and Jacksonville in the same district" idea. As shown by your own data, there is a 10% increase in the African-American voting age population in a Jacksonville to Tallahassee as opposed to a Jacksonville to Gainesville district, and 40% is a significant barrier as well. Plus there are no real "communities of interest" between Jacksonville and Gainesville anyway.