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A few days ago, a Florida judge struck down the state's congressional map, finding that the Republican Party of Florida had conspired to manipulate the map-making process for the party's own gain.

The recently struck down Florida monstrosity
As any casual observer of the struck-down map would note, "duh." To summarize, Republican legislators and operatives crafted a map that strengthens the Republican hold on Florida's congressional delegation (currently 17-10 Republican, despite the state voting for President Obama in 2012) considerably, either by packing Democrats or diluting them. They managed this despite the electorate of Florida passing a "Fair Districts Amendment" in 2010, although it has now been used to void the map.

Unfortunately, despite the obviously complete gerrymander, the judge singled out only a few areas of the 5th and 10th district. In the worst case scenario, the legislature simply passes a slightly modified map with most of the gerrymandered districts intact.

Florida deserves a fair map. Furthermore, the Republican of Florida does not deserve a gerrymander, for more reasons than I can number here (if you need an example, look at who's Governor...). Daily Kos mapmaker Stephen Wolf has created a great non-partisan map of the Sunshine State that can be found here. I can't improve on that map, but I'd like to take the opportunity to address another problem - the packing of constituents into far too few congressional districts.

Frustrated Progressive explains it better than I ever could, but to summarize, the House of Representative used to increase in size as the population increased, until the early 20th century. Since then, the mean number of people represented by a single member of the House has more than tripled. Why is this bad? For one, a Representative has three times as many people whose interests s/he needs to look out for, which naturally means that those interests won't be catered to as effectively. It also makes it harder for the average American without any fundraising connections to get elected.

So, what size should it be at? Matthew S. Shugart of UC Davis and Fruits and Votes notes that a country's assembly size tends to follow the cube root of the country's population (and indeed, the USA's House of Representatives is undersized when compared to other democratic countries' assemblies). Adjusting the number of representatives to the cube root of the population of the United States finds that the House would be expanded to a manageable 675 members, still a vast improvement as that would lower the mean number of people per congresscritter to ~450,000. Of these 675 members of Congress, Florida would have 41. I have assemblied an example of how a fair congressional map of Florida with 41 districts - coincidentally just one more than the current Florida State Senate, at 40 - could look like. Even if you disagree with the premise of the topic, redistricting is always fun! If you'd like to see what such a future could hold, the map can be found just below the fold.

Be aware that I am not an American citizen, nor have I ever set foot in America - I am just an interested individual. Therefore, my knowledge of local circumstances, communities of interest and parochial interests may be weak. Don't be afraid to criticize, but please do so with good humor and constructive criticism. Thanks in advance.

Note that this write-up includes an alternative proposal for the northeastern corner of the state, concerning the 4th to 7th Districts. The layout for the alternative proposal is attached in the image.

District 1 (blue) - Pensacola
Incumbent(s): Jeff Miller (R-Pensacola)
Counties: Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa (part)
72.9% White/75.5% White VAP
35.1% Obama - McCain 64.9% (R+19)

The direct successor to the original 1st district, which sheds its eastern parts and keeps Pensacola and the westernmost panhandle. This district cannot really be made into anything other than a strongly Republican district. Jeff Miller cruises.

Safe R

District 2 (green) - Panama City
Incumbent(s): Steve Southerland (R-Panama City)
Counties: Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Gulf, Okaloosa (part), Calhoun (part)
79.2% White/81.2% White VAP
27.8% Obama - McCain 72.2% (R+26)

This 100% panhandle district is comprised of about equal amounts from the old 1st (mainly Okaloosa County including Fort Walton Beach and Crestview) and the old 2nd (mainly Panama City). Rep. Steve Southerland is endangered in the current 2nd which includes dark blue Tallahassee, but he lives here and would be extremely safe.

Safe R

District 3 (dark magenta) - Tallahassee
Incumbent(s): None
Counties: Jackson, Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin, Leon, Wakulla, Jefferson, Calhoun (part), Taylor (part)
60.3% White/62.4% White VAP
56.3% Obama - McCain 43.7% (D+3)

The "true" successor to the old 2nd, as it consists of only territory from the 2nd as it leaves behind Panama City in the west and tiny areas in Madison and Perry Counties in the east. Without ruby red Panama City, Tallahassee with its large minority and government worker population is allowed to dominate, aided by some old Blue Dog territory. Current candidate for the 2nd district and daughter of Florida statesman Bob Graham, Gwen Graham, lives here and would be a lock. However, at over 28% black VAP, 2010 candidate Al Lawson (or another black, more liberal politician) could threaten her in a primary here. Still, the area is polarized enough - with Pres. Barack Obama underperforming even Fmr. CFO Alex Sink here - that 56% Obama would be enough even for a candidate that wouldn't garner many crossover votes.

Safe D

District 4 (red) - Gainesville
Incumbent(s): Ted Yoho (R-Gainesville)
Counties: Madison, Hamilton, Suwannee, Columbia, Union, Lafayette, Dixie, Gilchrist, Taylor (part), Baker (part), Alachua (part)
68.1% White/70.1% White VAP
48.7% Obama - McCain 51.3% (R+5)

The Democratic town of Gainesville here anchors a lot of conservative territory. It does contain a few Blue Dogs, though - Alex Sink overperformed Obama in 2012 by as much as 10 percentage points in a few counties. Rep. Ted Yoho, the incumbent, is a Tea Party member that came from nowhere and upset former Rep. Cliff Stearns in 2012. With a strong enough challenger - whoever that would be - Yoho could be in danger. We don't have much of a bench, though - State Rep. Clovis Watson Jr. doesn't seem like a good fit for the district for some reason. Gwen Graham could carpetbag here, and could make Yoho sweat if she isn't tainted too much by living in Tallahassee, though her connection to Bob Graham is just as strong here. Yoho is still the incumbent, though, and should be treated as such.

Likely R - Lean R with Gwen Graham

District 5 (gold) - Jacksonville suburbs
Incumbent(s): Ander Crenshaw (R-Jacksonville)
Counties: Nassau, Duval (part), Baker (part)
71.3% White/74.0% White VAP
35.6% Obama - McCain 64.4% (R+18)

The 4th district is shrunk and renumbered, but remains the same fundamentally. Rep. Ander Crenshaw will have no problem winning here.

Safe R

District 6 (teal) - Jacksonville
Incumbent(s): Corrine Brown (D-Jacksonville)
Counties: Duval (part)
45.6% White/49.7% White VAP (majority-minority)
59.0% Obama - McCain 41.0% (D+5)

Rep. Corinne Brown's current district is unlawful, for obvious reasons - it stretches all the way from Jacksonville to Orlando. This incarnation keeps to Duval County and, thanks to the lower population, succeeds where our 5th doesn't, as this is a majority-minority district. It can easily be tweaked not to be if it would be considered packing without changing any result in the end, but it's maj-min here to show that it's possible. This incarnation could also please Brown since she's probably safe in the primary and general with Obama romping and improving his margin in 2012.

Safe D

District 7 (dark gray) - St. Augustine/Jacksonville Beach
Incumbent(s): Ron DeSantis (R-Ponte Vedra Beach)
Counties: St. Johns, Clay, Bradford, Duval (part), Putnam (part)
81.4% White/83.4% White VAP (majority-minority)
31.9% Obama - McCain 68.1% (R+22)

Freshman Rep. Ron DeSantis finds his district leaving behind most of its old territory as Flagler and Volusia Counties are replaced with territory mostly from the 3rd, with a little also from the 5th. Still, he's completely safe here unless someone decides to primary him.

Safe R

District 8 (dark orange) - Ocala
Incumbent(s): None
Counties: Levy, Marion, Alachua (part), Putnam (part), Lake (part)
74.5% White/78.1% White VAP
43.2% Obama - McCain 56.8% (R+10)

Most of this district comes from Ocala's Marion County, currently represented by Rep. Rich Nugent who doesn't live here. The Republicans will have no problem finding someone to run and win here, perhaps former Rep. Cliff Stearns of Ocala who lost his primary in the 3rd to Ted Yoho.

Safe R

District 9 (cyan) - Daytona Beach
Incumbent(s): None
Counties: Flagler, Volusia (part)
78.4% White/81.3% White VAP
52.2% Obama - McCain 47.8% (R+2)

This district is completely contained by Ron DeSantis's 6th, though now that it's "liberated" from St. Johns and Putnam Counties it actually voted for Obama in 2008, though the area swung relatively sharply to Romney in 2012. DeSantis would not run here with his home being in the much safer 7th District, so the race is wide open. All the State Senators here are old, with John E. Thrasher having the best geographic position, though State Reps. Dave Hood Jr. and 30-year old Travis Hutson could also take a shot for the Republicans. The Democrats have State Rep. Dwayne L. Taylor and former Rep. Suzanne Kosmas. With a stronger bench and trend, I'd bet on a victory for team Red, but there's nothing to be ruled out here.

Tossup

District 10 (medium violet red) - Deltona/Sanford
Incumbent(s): None
Counties: Volusia (part), Seminole (part)
66.2% White/69.1% White VAP (majority-minority)
50.5% Obama - McCain 49.5% (R+3)

Another Obama-Romney district, held down by Rep. John Mica - who lives in the far bluer 12th but represents most of the 10th - who is a strong and popular incumbent. The district is his as long as he wants it, but could be competitive if he retires. Democrats could run State Sen. Mike Clelland who overperformed Obama by 5 in 2012.

Safe R - Tossup without John Mica

District 11 (chartreuse) - Orlando/Pine Hills/Altamonte Springs
Incumbent(s): Daniel Webster (R-Winter Garden)
Counties: Orange (part), Seminole (part)
43.4% White/47.4% White VAP (majority-minority)
60.3% Obama - McCain 39.7% (D+7)

Rep. Dan Webster probably lives here but would never run in this majority-minority 60+% Obama district. Blacks make up almost 30% of the VAP and Val Demings, Webster's 2010 opponent, would be a strong candidate.

Safe D

District 12 (cornflower blue) - Orlando/Winter Park
Incumbent(s): John Mica (R-Winter Park)
Counties: Orange (part)
55.0% White/58.1% White VAP
56.6% Obama - McCain 43.4% (D+3)

John Mica lives here and could be a strong candidate, but he'd be far safer in the 10th as he hasn't represented the Orlando areas since the 90's and the 12th is quite a bit more Democratic. State Rep. Karen Castor Dentel would be a fairly strong candidate here. I don't know where in Orlando Rep. Alan Grayson lives but he could also run here, but more likely in the 13th. Hispanic dropoff could lead to trouble in the midterms, but at 56.6% Obama it's barely closer to Likely D than Lean D and barely closer to Lean D than Tossup with Mica.

Likely D - Lean D with John Mica

District 13 (dark salmon) - Orlando/Pine Castle/Kissimmee/St. Cloud
Incumbent(s): Alan Grayson (D-Orlando)
Counties: Orange (part), Osceloa (part)
43.0% White/46.1% White VAP (majority-minority)
57.5% Obama - McCain 42.5% (D+4)

Over 30% Hispanic, this is the successor to Alan Grayson's current district consisting of southern Orlando and its suburbs of Kissimmee and St. Cloud. If he doesn't run here, State Sen. Darren Soto (whose mother is Puerto Rican) seems like a decent replacement, and State Reps. Victor M. Torres and Richardo Rangel are alternatives. Beware midterm dropoff, which would allow State Rep. Mike La Rosa of St. Cloud to be a threat.

Likely D

District 14 (dark cyan) - Clermont/Lake County
Incumbent(s): None
Counties: Sumter, Lake (part), Polk (part)
75.7% White/79.2% White VAP
41.9% Obama - McCain 58.1% (R+12)

At 58.1% McCain, this is where Dan Webster would probably run instead of losing in the 11th. Webster already represents much of the area since 2012 thanks to it being used to shore him up. He or any Republican legislator would be essentially safe.

Safe R

District 15 (deep pink) - Spring Hill/Homossassa Springs/New Port Richey
Incumbent(s): Rich Nugent (R-Spring Hill)
Counties: Citrus, Hernando, Pasco (part)
85.2% White/87.6% White VAP
47.6% Obama - McCain 52.4% (R+6)

While it is slightly more Democratic than his current district, Rep. Rich Nugent would ride on the power of incumbency here. Our strongest candidate would be State Rep. Amanda Murphy, who recently won a special election in a New Port Richey-based district, but Nugent has incumbency on his side. Could be competitive if he'd retire but would still have a fairly strong R lean.

Safe R

District 16 (forest green) - Dade City/Zephyrhills/Lutz
Incumbent(s): None
Counties: Pasco (part), Hillsborough (part)
75.7% White/78.5% White VAP
45.4% Obama - McCain 54.6% (R+8)

Includes eastern Pasco County and some Tampa suburbia. Gus Bilirakis probably retreats here, fearing a strong challenge in his home district, the 17th - both from a Democrat and from Rep. David Jolly (eeargh). Our bench here is not very strong.

Safe R

District 17 (dark slate blue) - Clearwater/Palm Harbor
Incumbent(s): Gus Bilirakis (R-Palm Harbor)
Counties: Pinellas (part)
80.4% White/83.5% White VAP
50.7% Obama - McCain 49.3% (R+3)

First things first: Pinellas County has room for exactly two districts out of 41. Amazing.

This is a slightly more Republican version of the current 13th district, and Rep. David Jolly (uuurgh) would thus be slightly favored here. He lives just south of the district border, while Gus Bilirakis will flee north. Still, it would be competitive with any decent candidate (any candidate would be a nice improvement) and should definitely be considered to be a bellwether district.

Lean R - Tossup without David Jolly or Gus Bilirakis

District 18 (dark goldenrod) - St. Petersburg
Incumbent(s): David Jolly (R-Indian Shores)
Counties: Pinellas (part)
73.4% White/77.0% White VAP
57.6% Obama - McCain 42.2% (D+4)

The one that got away. Contains downtown St. Pete among others. We'll not run Ed Jany here, nor will we run Alex Sink. Possible candidates are State Rep. Dwight Dudley and attorney Jessica Ehrlich.

Safe D

District 19 (dark violet) - Tampa
Incumbent(s): Kathy Castor (D-Tampa)
Counties: Hillsborough (part)
44.2% White/48.0% White VAP (majority-minority)
61.8% Obama - McCain 38.2% (D+8)

Ah, Tampa! The site of the 2012 RNC among other things. The district retracts enough to become majority-minority, though Kathy Castor is safe here. When she retires (to run for the Senate?), a Hispanic could try to get in.

Safe D

District 20 (orchid) - Plant City/Temple Terrace/Brandon
Incumbent(s): None
Counties: Hillsborough (part)
55.0% White/58.7% White VAP
51.9% Obama - McCain 48.1% (R+2)

A suburban Tampa district that swung to Romney with a little but trended D. The Republicans have State Sen. Tom Lee and State Reps. Dan Raulerson and Ross Spano. I have no idea who the Democrats have, with the State Legislature gerrymandered and the area only recently swinging towards the Democrats. If we find someone decent, game is on. At least in a presidential year, considering the Hispanic VAP at almost 20%.

Tossup

District 21 (maroon) - Bradenton
Incumbent(s): Vern Buchanan (R-Longboat Key)
Counties: Hillsborough (part), Manatee (part)
68.5% White/74.2% White VAP
47.0% Obama - McCain 53.0% (R+7)

Rep. Vern Buchanan's 16th district is split, with this district taking the northern half as well as southern Hillsborough County. Buchanan lives in a community split between this and the 24th district, which contains only territory from the old 16th but is 1.5% more Democratic. Buchanan is favored if he runs, otherwise State Rep. Greg Steube could be a contender. The Democrats have State Rep. Darryl Rouson, but I wager that 53% McCain is enough for him to be more or less without a chance.

Safe R

District 22 (dodger blue) - Sarasota
Incumbent(s): None
Counties: Sarasota, DeSoto, Manatee (part), Charlotte (part)
82.9% White/85.7% White VAP
48.5% Obama - McCain 51.5% (R+5)

Except for a tiny sliver of Charlotte County this is all Vern Buchanan's current territory... that he'd possibly abandon for safer but more unfamiliar territory up north, though this one is better for him than his current district. State Sen. Nancy Detert is an alternative, as are State Reps. Ray Pilon and Doug Holder. Democrats? Not really.

Safe R

District 23 (aquamarine) - Lakeland/Winter Heaven
Incumbent(s): Dennis A. Ross (R-Lakeland)
Counties: Hardee, Polk (part)
64.0% White/69.0% White VAP
46.4% Obama - McCain 53.6% (R+7)

Rep. Dennis Ross's district, more or less, minus the Hillsborough suburbs. Ross is very clearly favored here.

Safe R

District 24 (indigo) - Palm Bay/Rural Central East
Incumbent(s): None
Counties: Highlands, Polk (part), Osceloa (part), Brevard (part), Indian River (part), St. Lucie (part), Okeechobee (part)
55.5% White/60.2% White VAP
51.2% Obama - McCain 48.8% (R+2)

One of two "leftover districts" that I'm not really happy with. Many county splits, sadly. This one is indeed an odd mix - the 9th's Osceloa with lots from the 17th and bits from districts 8 and 18 together make a recipe that voted for Obama in 2008 and probably for Romney in 2012 as Osceloa's pro-Obama swing would be cancelled out by the rest. Rep. Tom Rooney is barely drawn out of the district and would rather run in his home district which did vote for McCain. Thanks to gerrymandering, Democrats have no real bench here while the GOP has several state legislators to choose from. The DCCC would hopefully find someone, though, as this district would be a top priority.

Tossup

District 25 (pinkish) - Space Coast
Incumbent(s): Bill Posey (R-Rockledge)
Counties: Brevard (part)
80.3% White/82.9% White VAP
43.3% Obama - McCain 56.7% (R+10)

SPACE! All Bill Posey Country, with the only difference between this and the actual 8th being the southern third going elsewhere. Posey is not only entrenched, he has a district that votes Republican and that will keep sending him to Washington, D. C.

Safe R

District 26 (slate gray) - Treasure Coast
Incumbent(s): None
Counties: Indian River (part), St. Lucie (part), Martin (part)
69.5% White/74.2% White VAP
50.4% Obama - McCain 49.6% (R+3)

The northern third is the southern third of Bill Posey's 8th, and the two southern thirds come from the 18th. Together they make a long-stretching coastal district that Obama won by 1748 votes in 2008. Rep. Patrick Murphy would be a strong contender but he lives in a safer district to the south and would be nuts if he'd stand here. Otherwise there's no Democratic bench as usual. This is basically Mark Foley's old district and indeed, State Sen. Joe Negron would be the favorite here.

Lean R, Tossup with Patrick Murphy

District 27 (peru) - Lake Okeechobee
Incumbent(s): Tom Rooney (R-Okeechobee)
Counties: Glades, Hendry, Okeechobee (part), St. Lucie (part), Martin (part), Palm Beach (part), Collier (part), Lee (part), Charlotte (part)
53.9% White/58.3% White VAP
49.4% Obama - McCain 50.6% (R+4)

Here, the 17th district moves southeast to become a second leftover district surrounding Lake Okeechobee and stretching from St. Lucie to Ft. Myers. Considering Team D's bench problems, Rep. Rooney will be the favorite here.

Likely R

District 28 (crimson) - Ft. Myers/Cape Coral/Port Charlotte
Incumbent(s): None
Counties: Charlotte (part), Lee (part)
76.0% White/79.8% White VAP
46.4% Obama - McCain 53.6% (R+7)

A nice district overlooking the Charlotte Harbor for State Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto. Probably unreachable even in a Democratic wave year.

Safe R

District 29 (navy) - Naples/Bonita Springs/San Carlos Park
Incumbent(s): Curt Clawson (R-Bonita Springs)
Counties: Collier (part), Lee (part)
75.5% White/79.9% White VAP
39.1% Obama - McCain 60.9% (R+15)

Rep. Curt Clawson's for life.

Safe R

District 30 (lime) - Palm Beach/West Palm Beach/Jupiter
Incumbent(s): Patrick Murphy 2.0 (D-Jupiter), Lois Frankel (D-West Palm Beach)
Counties: Palm Beach (part)
53.3% White/58.1% White VAP
60.1% Obama - McCain 39.9% (D+6)

Rep. Patrick Murphy's hometown is drawn together with Palm Beach in a very safe district that unlike his current one will see a Democrat succeed him. Murphy could also run in the competitive 26th, but it's less Democratic than his current one and includes some new and hostile territory in Indian River County that he'd probably rather avoid. Rep. Lois Frankel also lives here, having served as Mayor of West Palm Beach, but there's enough districts for everyone and she could probably and hopefully be convinced to run in the 31st, which she also represents much of currently. If she insists on staying put, she'd be favored in the primary due to tenure.

Safe D

District 31 (midnight blue) - Lake Worth/Boynton Beach/Delray Beach
Incumbent(s): None
Counties: Palm Beach (part)
58.3% White/63.4% White VAP
64.2% Obama - McCain 35.8% (D+10)

A new district is carved out of the 21st and 22nd, where Lois Frankel would probably run. Rep. Alcee Hastings technically doesn't have anywhere to run either and represents part of this district but he would be toast in this district that isn't more than 17.5% black VAP and doesn't have much loyalty to him.

Safe D

District 32 (orange red) - Boca Raton
Incumbent(s): Ted Deutch (D-Boca Raton)
Counties: Palm Beach (part), Broward (part)
73.6% White/76.1% White VAP
59.5% Obama - McCain 40.5% (D+6)

Rep. Ted Deutch lives in Boca Raton and would be awarded some nice coast to relax in. He wouldn't really have anything to worry about, and can thus go enjoy the Florida sunshine as long as he actually bothers to campaign once in a while.

Safe D

District 33 (royal blue) - Coral Springs/Lauderhill
Incumbent(s): None
Counties: Broward (part)
24.5% White/28.0% White VAP (black majority)
82.8% Obama - McCain 17.2% (D+29)

After many precinct swaps, I managed to make this district majority black AND completely contained within Broward County. I deserve credit for this. Rep. Alcee Hastings will cruise here, and while he doesn't live here, he doesn't live in his current district either. I'd say it's doubtful if 50+1% black VAP is really needed here - my original draft had a bare black plurality at ~38& - but the result was cleaner than I thought and didn't mess up the neighboring districts much so I let it slide.

Safe D

District 34 (limegreen) - Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood/Pompano Beach
Incumbent(s): Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Hollywood)
Counties: Broward (part)
58.5% White/62.3% White VAP
61.8% Obama - McCain 38.2% (D+8)

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chair of the DNC, lives in Hollywood which is
located in this district. Her current district is to a larger extent found in the 35th, which includes Pembroke Pines, and she could run in either as both are as safe as they come. State Sen. Eleanor Sobel represents most of this district and could run if DWS heads west and if she wants to (she's on the old side for freshmen, but Gloria Negrete McLeod did it!) and there's a handful of State Reps. that could also run. Republican State Rep. George Moraitis represents areas in this district but has no chance.

Safe D

District 35 (dark orchid) - Plantation/Pembroke Pines/Cooper City
Incumbent(s): None
Counties: Broward (part)
49.6% White/51.8% White VAP (minority-majority)
61.3% Obama - McCain 38.7% (D+8)

DWS's alternate district, containing many of her current non-coastal areas. Has a relatively large Hispanic population. If DWS doesn't run here, State Sen. Jeremy Ring could.

Safe D

District 36 (orange) - Miramar/North Miami
Incumbent(s): Alcee Hastings (D-Miramar), Frederica Wilson (D-Miami Gardens)
Counties: Broward (part), Miami-Dade (part)
15.7% White/17.3% White VAP (black majority)
84.9% Obama - McCain 15.1% (D+31)

Alcee Hastings lives here but the Miramar and North Miami area is represented by Miami's Rep. Frederica Wilson (the one with the funky hats! Google it!) whose district this is a successor to. Wilson is beyond safe here in this majority-black district.

Safe D

District 37 (medium blue) - Downtown Miami/Miami Beach
Incumbent(s): Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Miami)
Counties: Miami-Dade (part)
22.8% White/23.1% White VAP (Hispanic majority)
64.6% Obama - McCain 35.4% (D+11)

You know you want it. This downtown district is made from parts of today's 24th and 27th districts and is a safe Democratic Hispanic district, possibly because not all Hispanics here are Cubans. Possible victors in the probably crowded primary this district will invite - Democratic, of course - are State Reps. David Richardson and José Javier Rodriguez, which would give Florida either it's only open LGBT congressperson or its only Democratic Hispanic congressperson. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen claims "Miami" as her residence and the Miami parts of her district are here, but she has stronger claims on the 40th to the south.

Safe D

District 38 (lawn green) - Hialeah
Incumbent(s): None
Counties: Miami-Dade (part)
6.0% White/4.7% White VAP (Hispanic majority)
49.9% Obama - McCain 50.1% (R+4)

Hialeah gets its own district in this configuration, one that is >80% Hispanic. It barely voted for McCain, making it a certain McCain-Obama district. Neither Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen nor Mario Díaz-Balart live here, but the former could choose this district to avoid unsafer territory despite being very entrenched while the latter has a safer alternative. The Republicans could also run State Sen. René García or former Rep. Lincoln Díaz-Balart. Anything can happen in an open race.

Tossup

District 39 (magenta) - Pemboke Pines/Country Club
Incumbent(s): Mario Díaz-Balart (R-Miami)
Counties: Miami-Dade (part), Broward (part)
10.7% White/9.8% White VAP (Hispanic majority)
49.0% Obama - McCain 51.0% (R+5)

The most Republican of the Cuban districts in SE Florida, this one is where Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart lives and would probably run in. State Sens. Anitere Flores or René Garcia are other contenders. With a Cuban, this district is probably safe... for now.

Safe R - Tossup without Mario Díaz-Balart

District 40 (firebrick) - Coral Terrace/Cutler Bay
Incumbent(s): None
Counties: Miami-Dade (part)
22.7% White/22.9% White VAP (Hispanic majority)
51.1% Obama - McCain 48.9% (R+3)

Despite being more Democratic than the 38th, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is very well-known here as she represents most of it and she would be safe here until retirement. When she leaves, though, this district will be a >55% Obama one and Democrats could find an opportunity.

Safe R - Tossup without Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

District 41 (sea green) - Key West/Homestead
Incumbent(s): Joe García (D-Key West)
Counties: Monroe, Miami-Dade (part)
23.6% White/25.3% White VAP (Hispanic majority)
54.7% Obama - McCain 45.3% (D+1)

With the Cubans swinging towards the Democrats big time in 2012, Joe García would likely be safe in this district that includes the southern tip of Florida and all of Homestead. Anything can still happen, though, and State Rep. Holly Merrill Raschein would be a decent get for Team Red.

Likely D

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There is an argument for keeping the 6th district in both Gainesville and Jacksonville, as their urban centres are close and have a lot in common. This might not be as urgent with a JAX-centered district still being able to be majority-minority, but one such alternative is presented below.

District 4 (red) - Northern Florida
Incumbent(s): None
Counties: Madison, Hamilton, Suwannee, Columbia, Union, Lafayette, Dixie, Gilchrist, Baker, Nassau, Duval (part) Taylor (part), Alachua (part)
74.5% White/76.5% White VAP
35.7% Obama - McCain 64.3% (R+18)

In this map version, the urban centres of Jacksonville and Gainesville are kept together, which means that the 4th has to add territory from the 5th. The district is now red as a sunset and Blue Dog-proof. It lacks an incumbent, however, with Rep. Yoho leaving with Gainesville. State Sen. Charles S. Dean represents most of the district but is 75, so the most likely winner here is State Sen. Aaron Bean of Nassau County and Fernandina Beach.

Safe R

District 5 (gold) - Jacksonville suburbs
Incumbent(s): Ander Crenshaw (R-Jacksonville)
Counties: Duval (part)
63.3% White/66.7% White VAP
40.9% Obama - McCain 59.1% (R+13)

The 5th here eats into Jacksonville's inner suburbs and leaves Nassau and Baker Counties. Still Safe R even if the Duval County parts are tweaked around to unpack black voters.

Safe R

District 6 (teal) - Jacksonville/Gainesville
Incumbent(s): Corrine Brown (D-Jacksonville)
Counties: Duval (part), Clay (part), Bradford (part), Alachua
45.7% White/49.8% White VAP (majority-minority)
66.0% Obama - McCain 34.0% (D+12)

Here, Corinne Brown's arm is shortened considerably, keeping to Jacksonville and Gainesville. This configuration is is majority-minority which can be tweaked if needed. The judge who struck the map wanted this district to be >43.5% black VAP to ensure a black representative, but that would require the arm going to Orlando which stands in direct opposition to having nearby districts anywhere close to clean. This stands in contrast to my District 33, which isn't nearly as awful and could be made through only tweaking its neighbors. Furthermore, 43.5% is a completely ridiculous minimum - 37.5% should be enough. Brown is even safer here than in the original plan and will cruise. Congrats, Rep. Brown.

Safe D

District 7 (dark gray) - St. Augustine/Jacksonville Beach
Incumbent(s): Ron DeSantis (R-Ponte Vedra Beach)
Counties: St. Johns, Clay (part), Bradford (part), Duval (part), Putnam (part)
82.7% White/84.7% White VAP (majority-minority)
31.9% Obama - McCain 68.1% (R+22)

To make room for an arm for the 6th, the 7th eats a bit more of Duval County. Hilariously, the Obama/McCain percentage stays exactly the same as in version 1.

Safe R

---

Where does this all end up, then?

The current delegation is 10/17 Democratic, or about 37% Democratic. With these maps, we would likely end up with anywhere between a 15/26 and a 19/22 D delegation, which is equal to 37-46% Democrats in the delegation. (I'm assuming that Patrick Murphy runs in the 30th, as I lack much evidence of his insanity.) It's not much of an improvement unless we score big but that can be explained by Republican (especially Cuban) entrenched incumbents.

To use another metric, 23 of the districts - 56% - voted for Obama in 2008, when he won 51-48. That would indicate a slightly Democratic-leaning map, but within the margin of error. In the actual map, this number is 10/17 and 37% - clearly an improvement. Indeed, if we remove strong incumbents like John Mica and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the percentage of competitive districts for Democrats would be considerably higher.

All in all, a tiny improvement - indeed, the bigger improvement would come from representatives having more time for their constituents and less interests to cater to. And if nothing else, this map was rather fun to make. Feel free to tell me what you think.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (14+ / 0-)

    19/Sweden/Wonk. Prefers discussing opinions to having them. Learning by doing.

    by Tayya on Mon Jul 14, 2014 at 11:17:39 AM PDT

  •  How long did it take you to make this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tayya, trumpeter

    And write out the explanations? It's pretty in-depth

  •  Nice work. Very interesting. (0+ / 0-)

    I do think that the size of the House might be a bit too small, considering that Wyoming has just over half of the population of Montana but the same voting power so I'm fascinated by the cube root concept.  

    I also think though that some system using multi-member districts(3-5) and instant runoff/approval voting system would make the most difference in terms of making a representative congress.

    My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right. -- Senator Carl Schurz(MO-1899)

    by Adam Blomeke on Mon Jul 14, 2014 at 11:49:46 AM PDT

  •  Interesting but . . . (4+ / 0-)

    this proposed 41 district map still pays too much homage to existing geographical oddities carried over from the old gerrymandered districts. Look at your proposal for Jacksonville, for instance. District 5 is a "white flight" doughnut that encircles the "urban core"! This method of including all the outlying suburbs in a circle around the center of the city doesn't seem to be one that would naturally come to mind when drawing districts; it appears contrived to maintain some semblance of what was previously on the books.

    I appreciate how detailed your efforts here were, but as a native Floridian, I'd love to see what would happen if districts were drawn using "1 person, 1 vote" as the most important determinant. Divide up the 41 proposed districts in a way that hews as closely as possible to each vote counting exactly the same. Now, there are some districts that include large rural/sparsely populated tracts where the total number of constituents is significantly lower than urban and dense suburban districts around major cities. Ideally, a vote in Tampa or Fort Lauderdale should count exactly the same as a vote in Nassau County. I think if we were to do this, the state house and senate, and the US congressional delegation, would more accurately reflect the relatively even spread of blue and red voters. Statewide tallies (US Senate, Governor, President) say Florida is basically purple, but conservatives have a supermajority in the state legislature and a 63% majority in the US house delegation.      

    •  You point out some real flaws. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe, Jorge Harris

      When it comes to Jacksonville specifically, a simple alternative would be to merge my districts 5 and 6 and split it down the middle. However, this would dilute the non-white Jacksonville vote somewhat considerably, which isn't really desirable for anyone but the GOP including the courts.

      In Orlando, for example, I didn't deliberately make a city core district, and in Tampa, St. Pete and Miami the "core" districts came kind of naturally via the borders of the neighboring districts.

      I've never been to Florida, so I can't say I have much ancestral knowledge of how the state and its geography "work", and therefore I have to rely on my intuition. Existing maps, while deeply flawed in many ways, are a great help and this probably shows a bit more than it could be showing.

      I appreciate that you took your time to comment and share your insights!

      19/Sweden/Wonk. Prefers discussing opinions to having them. Learning by doing.

      by Tayya on Mon Jul 14, 2014 at 12:27:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, there are not. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GoUBears, James Allen
      Now, there are some districts that include large rural/sparsely populated tracts where the total number of constituents is significantly lower than urban and dense suburban districts around major cities.
      Dailykos analysis of Florida population variance

      Florida produced a map with equal population in all districts.

      There may be variance in how many people are over 18, and how many of those are actually registered to vote, but there are not huge differences in total district population.

      -7.75 -4.67

      "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

      There are no Christians in foxholes.

      by Odysseus on Mon Jul 14, 2014 at 10:13:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Very good work (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ProudNewEnglander, GoUBears

    I enjoyed it and you have some great knowledge of the state despite your lack of ties to America.  One suggestion is to use the American format of decimals (periods) instead of the European (commas).  It probably feels weird to you but will be more natural to 95% of your readers.

    21, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)
    politicohen.com
    Idiosyncratic, pro-establishment. Liberal, not progressive. For the poor, the children, the planet, and the rule of law.
    UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city.

    by jncca on Mon Jul 14, 2014 at 01:15:50 PM PDT

    •  Thanks and dang it! (0+ / 0-)

      I did try to use periods, but I probably missed a bunch. It's always good to be reminded of it.

      19/Sweden/Wonk. Prefers discussing opinions to having them. Learning by doing.

      by Tayya on Mon Jul 14, 2014 at 01:36:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It was in the chart at the top. (0+ / 0-)

        21, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)
        politicohen.com
        Idiosyncratic, pro-establishment. Liberal, not progressive. For the poor, the children, the planet, and the rule of law.
        UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city.

        by jncca on Mon Jul 14, 2014 at 01:50:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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