The Map that has passed the Florida House and is being debated in the Florida Senate is widely considered to be the legislatures main attempt at drawing the new lines.
However, as many of us know, in 2010 the voters in Florida, with over 60% majorities (as required to amend the FL Constitution) passed Fair Districts Florida, which were a set of two amendments that require state legislators to draw both State (Senate and House) and U.S. Congressional seats fairly. These amendments require the districts to be more compact, respect communities of interests, have no regard for partisan makeup, all the while respecting the VRA.
But the map passed by the Florida House quite possibly (actually, quite likely, IMO) may end up in the Florida Supreme Court, where Democrats are thought to have a 4-3 edge. This is important because the map passed by the Florida House clearly violates Fair Districts Florida. More below the fold.
The Map passed by the Florida House has at least one major flaw, and quite possibly two other major flaws depending on how the Florida Supreme Court views minority voting power versus compactness mandated by Fair Districts. David Jarman has a great overview here.
Looking at the map link above, proposed FL-14, based on downtown Tampa and St. Petersburg, is an obvious gerrymander that splits communities and counties through water contiguity. I doubt the Florida Supreme Court would allow this to stand, as it is clearly meant to boost Bill Young in the Pinellas County based FL-13. There is no rationale to have St. Petersburg excluded from the rest of Pinellas County, and no reason for Tampa not to pull in more of its suburbs into proposed FL-14.
The two other major flaws involve two of my least favorite Congresspeople. Alcee Hastings and the odious Corrine Brown (who is trying to overturn Fair Districts Florida.) Both of these member's districts, the proposed FL-05 (Brown) and the proposed FL-20 (Hastings) are horrendous snake-manders designed to sink African American votes. Some will contend these are and should be maintained under the Voting Rights Act, but in truth the DOJ would probably be fine with dismantling one or both of these districts, especially Brown's. It isn't particularly clear how many AA majority VAP seats are "needed" in Florida, but really only one is reasonably possible without drawing insane lines, and that is the proposed FL-24 represented by Frederica Wilson.
So, with this all in mind, I tried to pretend I was the FL Supreme Court attempting to redraw the lines after invalidating these three districts (or that I am the FL-GOP forced to draw new lines with these criteria.) My goals were to keep the lines as similar as possible to the proposed ones (very difficult with these changes), keep one AA seat in South Florida, make a compact urban Duval seat, keep the minority-majority seat proposed in the Orlando area, unite Orlando into one seat instead of splitting it because of Corrine Brown, and give African Americans a chance at still having three representatives in Florida.
What follows is specifics for each district and zoomed-in maps. I will include racial data in districts where it is an important factor:
FL-01: Virtually unchanged from the proposed map. This district changes little in partisan composition from the 2000 map, and is the second most conservative district in Florida. Should continue to elect Jeff Miller or any other Republican.
Obama: 32.3% McCain: 67.7%
FL-02: Also fairly unchanged from the proposed map. This Tallahassee based district was lost in 2010 by Allen Boyd, and is now held by my-salary-is-not-so-big teabbager Steve Southerland. This district, in 2000, was made more Republican by sending in a tentacle from Crenshaw's suburban Jacksonville district to suck up some ancestrally Democratic parts of FL-02, including Allen Boyd's home in Monticello. But, Boyd survived until the 2010 wave. Now, with Fair Districts, the FL Legislature actually drew this seat to be more compact, taking in the whole of Leon, Jefferson and parts of Madison. So, this already competitive seat has shifted a few points leftward from 2010.
The Democratic base of this district is undeniably Leon County (home of Tallahassee, the capital of Florida, with numerous universities and a large African-American population -GO NOLES-) and Gadsden County (a heavily African-American county north of Leon, more similar to black-belt counties in Georgia).
The Republican base of this county is Panama City (Bay County) as well as rural counties like Liberty and Calhoun.
The swing areas are the old Blue Dog counties of Madison, Franklin, Wakulla and Jefferson. A moderate, southern white Democrat in the mold of Allen Boyd such as Leonard Bembry, already endorsed by the Blue Dogs, could probably wrest this seat back for the Dems by winning these ancestrally Democratics areas (which still voted for Alex Sink over Rick Scott of governor).
Obama: 47.6% McCain: 52.4%
White: 68.4% Black:23.1% Hispanic: 4.8%
FL-03: This is where some changes occur (The third is the purple district I apologize for the numbering mess up on the map). By making a core Jacksonville urban district, this district must shift and takes in less of Duval County (Jacksonville). As a result, it moves westward to pick up blood-red North Florida counties. This would have been a perfect district to sink the liberal Gainesville (Alachua County) into, but Gainesville simply has too many people. It would make the neighboring 4th an elongated district spanning from Tampa suburbs to Georgia, so Gainesville had to be left out of this district. By the way, this now becomes the most conservative district in Florida with suburban red Nassau County, parts of evangelical suburban Clay County and many blood-red rural counties. Conservative Ander Crenshaw would most likely run here and be a shoe-in.
Obama: 31.3% McCain: 68.7%
Skipping FL-04 for now.
FL-05: A new urban Jacksonville District. Corrupt Corrine Brown would not win here. She may not even win the primary. This district would most likely see a black liberal Democrat square off against a conservative white Republican for the entire decade. This district is incredibly polarized racially and politically, so depending on turnout, this district could go either way.
Obama: 52.9% McCain: 47.1%
White: 55.4% Black: 31.4% Hispanic: 7.0%
FL-04: This is an interesting district. Dismantling Corrine Brown's district makes the lines in North Florida significantly different from the proposed map because of Gainesville. It had to go somewhere, and no Republican wants it. But freshman Rep. Rich Nugent draws the short straw. This district has a lot of similarities to his old district, such as Tampa suburb Hernando County, conservative Sumter County and Citrus County and parts of Levy County. The difference is that this district now takes in liberal bastion Gainesville (home of UF) instead of blood-red North Florida counties (taken by Crenshaw in my map.)
I see no way the GOP can get around this. Maybe they can cleverly shift and rotate the lines around, but either way someone is going to be unhappy. Better the freshman than the senior members of Florida's Republican delegation. As a result of all this, the district becomes quite competitive if a moderate white Democrat were to run, as there are some Dixiecrats in rural Alachua and conservative-leaning independents in Hernando County.
Obama: 49.3% McCain: 50.7%
White: 79.3% Black: 10.5% Hispanic: 7.3%
FL-06: This district changes little for the popular Republican John Mica. This biggest changes are the removal of rural Putnam County, instead taking more of Volusia County. However, this is all a far cry from his current district, which takes in his home in Winter Park north of Orlando plus significant areas of Seminole County. In this map, it takes in traditionally conservative areas south of Jacksonville along the Atlantic Coast, such as St. Augustine and rural parts of Volusia and Flagler County. The Democratic base of this district is Daytona, but it is not enough to unseat the popular Mica if he ran here. Areas like Flagler Beach, that are somewhat moderate and swingy, would need to swing hard against Mica in order to unseat him. However, this is only if Mica should decide to run here. In the past week, Mica has decided to run against freshman Sandy Adams in the newly drawn Seminole County and northern Orange County district, proposed FL-07, which takes in his home of Winter Park. So, without an incumbent, this district would become far more competitive.
Obama: 47.2% McCain: 52.8%
Safe GOP with Mica, Lean GOP without Mica.
Skipping to FL-10 for now.
FL-10: I kept the numbering as close as possible to the proposed map. This district changes quite a bit from the proposed one, but is still centered on the Orlando suburbs of Lake County. Now it must shift north to take in heavily African American Palatka and also takes in Ocala on the way, so others don't have to, and leaves Polk County altogether. More importantly, it leaves Orange County, home to Orlando, as it previously curled around Corrine Brown's district into downtown. As Lake County diversifies, this district will becomes more Democratic, but in the mean time it is sufficiently Republican and should be safe for the decade. This district has some similarities to both the current FL-08, which is now held by Taliban Dan Webster, who unseated liberal hero Alan Grayson last cycle. But, he could well face a tough primary. But also, this district contains Ocala, which could leave current Rep. Cliff Stearns with a decent place to run. Needless to say, this could be an interesting primary unless Stearns wanted to primary Crenshaw or Nugent (or if Webster runs in one of the Orlando area seats.)
Obama: 42.7% McCain: 57.3%
White: 78.2% Black: 9.8% Hispanic: 9.1%
FL-08: This district is a compact Brevard (Melbourne, Titusville) and Indian River County (Vero Beach) district, very similar to the proposed map by the legislature. The partisanship doesn't change too much from the current maps. This district is clearly meant for birther Bill Posey. Although he barely won his first term in 2008, he cruised in 2010 during the Republican wave. This district has a lot of Republican leaning-independents around Melbourne and Vero Beach, so it is not out of the question the right Democrat could win this seat from Mr. Birther King of Florida, especially in a good Democratic year.
Obama:44.3% McCain: 55.7%
FL-07: This Orlando suburban seat, taking in parts of Orange and Volusia, as well as all of Seminole, changes drastically from the proposed map. It loses conservative areas in north Orlando, such as Winter Park and Maitland, and pushes west to take in Apopka, and also takes in heavily black Sanford in Seminole County (previously also sucked up by Corrine Brown). This district now becomes one that Obama barely won, and also is becoming more Democratic with an increase in Hispanics in Orlando's suburbs. I may have been able to drawn this district to be a bit more friendly to Republicans, but no matter which way you draw the lines without Corrine Brown's district, the new minority-majority seat drawn south of Orlando cannot move much to keep Hispanic influence high. Also, taking into account the preservation of the surrounding conservative districts, there isn't much more you can do with this district (maybe change the lines to make it 1-2% more Republican.) But, as part of my goals, I wanted a united Orlando, so that keeps this district competitive by having to take Apopka instead of Winter Park.
As far as people who would run here, it would logically be either the aforementioned John Mica, or anti-Medicare freshman Sandy Adams, who unseated one-termer Suzanne Kosmas (she won in 2008 with Obama coattails). If these two square off, it would be quite the epic cat fud. If Adams were to win, and be badly damaged, Dems could pick up this seat. If Mica were to be the nominee, it's hard to imagine the popular Republican losing.
In any case, this district will slowly become more Democratic over the decade.
Obama: 50.3% McCain: 49.7%
White: 66.2% Black: 10.3% Hispanic: 18.0%
Likely GOP with Mica, Tilt GOP with Adams.
FL-09: New Hispanic opportunity minority-majority district based in South and Central Orange County and Osceola County (Kissimmee and St. Cloud). The district also takes in parts of Eastern and Northern Polk County (Haines City) that are either already heavily Hispanic or are becoming more diverse. The district doesn't take in some Hispanic heavy areas near Orlando due to the way I wanted to draw the lines - by not screwing with Posey's district, keeping the new FL-06 intact, dismantling Brown's, uniting Orlando, and maintaining population equality - this district cannot realistically pick up those higher percentage Hispanic areas near Orlando, but instead takes in more of Polk (which is quickly becoming more Hispanic anyway).
This whole arrangement would anger the GOP if forced to do it. The dismantling of Browns district completely undermines the entirety of what they hope to do in North Florida and the Orlando area.
Anyhow, the district is nearly 40% Hispanic (if not so by now in 2012) and becoming more so every day. It will most likely elect a Hispanic Democrat, but I guess it's possibly for a Hispanic Republican to win this district in a bad Dem year. There is no incumbent here.
Obama: 59.4% McCain: 40.6%
White: 45.5% Black: 10.5% Hispanic: 38.7% Asian: 3.5%
FL-11: A new urban Orlando district with Western Orange County and a small piece of Osceola for population equality. This district just appears to pop up from dismantling Browns, as the urban core is freed up. Technically, Sandy Adams, and Dan Webster (I think) all reside in this new district, but none would run here. It is sufficiently Democratic to elect our favorite progressive back to Congress - Alan Grayson. In addition, this district is almost majority-minority, and can easily become so by the end of the decade. Grayson may have trouble in a primary against a minority candidate.
Obama: 58.5% McCain: 41.5%
White: 53.3% Black: 21.6% Hispanic: 17.7% Asian: 5.0%
On to Tampa Bay!
FL-12: Northern Tampa suburbs - Pasco County, Northern Pinellas and small piece of Hillsborough. With St. Petersburg rightfully taken out of the Tampa core district, the neighboring 13th shrinks, so FL-12 must pick up the areas in Pinellas left behind. They are far more Dem-friendly than areas in Northern Hillsborough that this district currently has and would have in the proposed GOP map.
The district is obviously tailor-made for nepotism baby Gus Bilirakis, who inherited the seat from his father, Mike Bilirakis in 2006. This district is slowly trending Democratic, and may be slightly competitive by the end of the decade (Hispanic population increase in Pasco, Hispanic and Asian boom in Pinellas). But, with a Bilirakis in there, the Greek community of Tarpon Springs in Northern Pinellas will turn out strong for the Baby-Rakis.
Obama: 48.0% McCain: 52.0%
White: 84.7% Black: 3.3% Hispanic: 8.5% Asian: 2.2%
FL-13: South and Central Pinellas County, including St. Petersburg (like it should be) and Clearwater. The GOP clearly has a motive to keep St. Pete out, because once museum artifact Bill Young retires, Democrats have a prime pick-up opportunity. The district already is a tossup under current and proposed lines, but the popularity of the 81 year old Young could probably hold onto the seat until he decides to quit. But, with the addition of St. Petersburg in my map, Bill Young will either fight a harder fight or retire. However, if he ran I would still expect him to win due to his incredible popularity.
This district will only become more Democratic as a massive Asian population boom continues north of St. Petersburg in communities like Lealman throughout the decade.
Obama: 56.3% McCain: 43.7%
White: 77.8% Black: 10.6% Hispanic: 7.0% Asian: 3.0%
Lean GOP with Young, Likely Dem without Young.
FL-14: Tampa urban district, with some close suburbs like Brandon, Gibsonton and Temple Terrace. Without the water contiguity into Pinellas County, this district now expands into more of Hillsborough (like Lake Magdelene), which are more swingy areas, but trending Dem nonetheless. Kathy Castor should have no trouble here. In addition, this seat is barely majority white, and will probably only be plurality white by 2020.
Obama: 60.8% McCain: 39.2%
White: 50.2% Black: 18.9% Hispanic: 25.2% Asian: 3.2%
FL-15: Eastern and Southern Hillsborough (Sun City, Valrico, Plant City), plus Lakeland in Polk County. I decided to just stick all of the rest of Hillsborough into this district, instead of taking out the southeastern section to put with rural counties north of the Everglades as it is in the proposed map. The district may slowly trend Dem as Lakeland and Valrico diversify, but it should be safe for freshman Dennis Ross.
Obama: 45.3% McCain: 54.7%
White: 67.6% Black: 9.7% Hispanic: 17.9% Asian: 3.2%
FL-16: Manatee (Bradenton) and Sarasota (Sarasota, Venice) County. This is a country-club suburban Tampa Bay district with a large liberal base in downtown Brandenton and Sarasota. This district changes very little, if at all, from the proposed map, which makes ethically challenged incumbent Vern Buchanan slightly more vulnerable. He barely won this seat in 2006 after the retirement of the dreaded Katherine Harris by defeating Christine Jennings by an agonizing 369 votes.
But, his district becomes a point more Democratic than the current 2000-2010 map, opening the door for a strong Democratic challenger in the mold of business friendly Christine Jennings to finally end the ethically challenged Buchanan's career in the House. Still, Buchanan probably has a better than even shot at winning reelection.
Obama: 48.6% McCain: 51.4%
FL-17: A sprawling Central Florida district, encompassing a huge section of South and Central Polk County (Winter Haven, Bartow, Fort Meade), a small piece of Manatee, and the whole of Hardee, DeSoto, Charlotte (Port Charlotte), Glades, Hendry, Okeechobee, plus rural Palm Beach County. It is essentially a Lake Okeechobee district very similar to the one proposed by the GOP, but instead of taking in Southern Hillsborough, it eats up Hendry County and rural Palm Beach County (Belle Glade), and also does not enter Lee County like the proposed GOP map.
This district is a pretty good fit for Rep. Tom Rooney. It seems fairly safe for him over the decade. He could run in the proposed FL-18 or my FL-18, but this is a better seat for him.
Obama: 45.2% McCain: 54.7%
FL-18: A compact St. Lucie County (Fort Pierce, Pt. St. Lucie), Martin County (Stuart) and Northern Palm Beach County (Jupiter) district. It bears no resemblance to any district from the 2000 map, but the district doesn't change very much from the one proposed by the GOP, just shifted some of the lines in Palm Beach County. This district in the newly proposed map is empty, but liberals-get-the-Hell-out-of-America Tea Party favorite Allen West has decided to run here, and his challenger, Democrat Patrick Murphy, has decided to follow West and take on his Teabaggery (props to Murphy). West is definitely vulnerable, but this seat will still be no easy task for a Dem to take or hold, especially in an unfriendly year.
Obama: 51.0% McCain: 49.0%
FL-19: This seat takes in most of Lee County (Cape Coral, Ft. Myers) and the most populous areas of Collier County (Naples). This seat doesn't change too much from the proposed map (takes in more of Lee and less of Collier) and is the new incarnation of Connie Mack IV's old FL-14. He is retiring to challenger Senator Bill Nelson this cycle, so whoever wins the primary here on the GOP side should have no trouble owning this seat for the decade.
Obama: 42.7% McCain: 57.3%
FL-20: Keeping the numbering the same, this district takes in many parts of Alcee Hasting's current FL-23 and proposed FL-20. It takes in ONLY areas in Broward County (Ft. Lauderdale). In it's current form and proposed form it is an obvious African-American vote sink that horrendously snakes up I-95 and the Florida Turnpike to suck in black voters, as well as takes in heavily African American areas around Ft. Lauderdale.
If that were to be ruled unconstitutional, a united Ft. Lauderdale areas seat could be constructed with a significant enough African American population to have a Democrat win both the primary and general election (they would make up probably around or over half of the Democratic base here). Hopefully, Alcee will retire and a new African-American Democrat, who is less ethically challenged, can represent Ft. Lauderdale.
Obama: 72.1% McCain: 27.9%
White: 46.2% Black: 29.9% Hispanic: 19.7% Asian: 2.7%
FL-21: With the removal of the Alcee Hastings gerrymander, this Palm Beach County (West Palm Beach, Boynton Beach) district becomes a lot more diverse and a lot more Democratic. There is a significant Jewish population, African American population and Hispanic population here. I would think that this would be open territory to a new Democrat (would be an interesting primary) as Ted Deutch would probably run in the FL-22 district, where his home of Boca Raton is. Allen West could also run here, but he would lose badly. Another option is that DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz could move here to run if she felt that was the right option.
Obama: 66.7% McCain: 33.3%
White: 54.8% Black: 19.6% Hispanic: 21.8%
FL-22: This district is somewhat similar to the proposed FL-22 in the GOP map, but is pushed south a bit and compacted more with the dismantling of the Alcee Hastings gerrymander. It is based both in Broward County (Boca Raton, Delray Beach) and Miami-Dade County (Deerfield Beach, Coral Springs). This is a heavily Jewish district, and Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch would most likely run here from Boca Raton base and be safe for the decade.
Obama: 61.1% McCain: 38.9%
White: 69.0% Black: 12.3% Hispanic: 14.2%
FL-23: This is one of FOUR Miami area Hispanic seats. It is wholly within Miami-Dade County (Miami, Miami Beach, Hialeah). It changes significantly from the old map and the GOP map because of the removal of Alcee's district. It must move, but cannot take any black precincts from FL-24 because of the VRA, must be sufficiently Hispanic, and therefore moves into Hialeah. This seat actually narrowly voted for Obama, but relatively moderate Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is popular in these parts, and should be safe barring a wave where she may be slightly vulnerable.
Obama: 50.8% McCain: 49.2%
White: 20.2% Black: 3.9% Hispanic: 73.9%
Likely GOP with Ros-Lehtinen, Lean GOP without her.
FL-24: This seat changes very little from the old map, proposed map and my map. It is the compact African-American majority seat that takes in parts of Broward (Hollywood, Miramar) and Miami-Dade County (North Miami). Should continue electing freshman Frederica Wilson, who replaced Kendrick Meek after his failed U.S. Senate run in 2010 against Fmr. Gov. Charlie Christ and now Senator Marco Rubio.
Obama: 85.9% McCain: 14.1%
White: 16.5% Black: 51.0% Hispanic: 28.8%
FL-25: This seat changes drastically from the old map and GOP map. In the old map, it takes in Homestead, some areas of Hialeah and stretches across the Everglades to Collier County. In the proposed map, it still reaches into Everglades counties and takes in heavily Cuban Hialeah. In my map, the district pushes north of Hialeah in Miami-Dade County into other Cuban areas, but the remainder of the district is wholly within Broward County (Cooper City, Sunrise) instead of pushing across the peninsula.
This district is barely majority Hispanic, but would almost certainly elect a Cuban either way. The seat is a logical fit for potential criminal and freshman David Rivera, who will face stiff competition here, possibly against Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, whose district is somewhat carved up by the removal of Alcee's district.
Obama: 58.1% McCain: 41.9%
White: 33.9% Black: 10.6% Hispanic: 50.6%
FL-26: The third Hispanic majority seat. This district is somewhat similar to the proposed FL-26, and takes in parts of the old FL-18 and FL-25. It takes it parts of Lee and Collier County out west, all of Monroe County (Key West) and parts of Miami-Dade County (Homestead, Richmond West). Instead of taking Cuban communities like Doral and Coral Terrace, it pushes West to take in areas that were not taken by FL-17, which are white conservative areas outside of Ft. Myers and Naples. There is a significant white and Cuban Republican base here, so it's not certain a Cuban would be elected (would make for a very interesting primary). Also, the district is no sure bet for Republicans, as it narrowly voted for McCain, so it is conceivable a Cuban Democrat could win here in a good year. It isn't immediately clear to me who would run here.
Obama: 49.3% McCain: 50.7%
White: 37.5% Black: 8.1% Hispanic: 51.6%
FL-27 The fourth and final Hispanic majority seat, existing wholly within Miami-Dade County (Doral, Cutler Ridge, Kendall, Coral Terrace). It has a lot of commonalities between both the old FL-21 and proposed FL-27. The biggest change between this and the proposed GOP map is that instead of taking in downtown Miami, the district moves west to take in some heavily Cuban areas like Doral. Should be no problem for Mario Biaz-Balart.
Obama: 48.0% McCain: 52.0%
White: 14.3% Black: 7.9% Hispanic: 75.0%
All in all, I know this map is not perfect and only represents some of the options the Florida Supreme Court will consider. The lines obviously could be slightly more favorable to the GOP is the legislature were allowed to redraw them, or maybe more different if the Florida Supreme Court decides to completely wipe the old map and make a new one. But I think this map is a decent guess for what the FL Supreme Court could do to make it comply to Fair District. One change I could make could be the make one of the South FL Hispanic seats more Hispanic and make the other one not majority Hispanic, but that can be left up to debate.
Let me know what you guys think. This was a lot of work!