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New Florida Map Likely to Benefit Democrats

Jolly is running for Senate in Florida. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Jolly is running for Senate in Florida. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After years of litigation , a Florida circuit court judge recommended Friday that the state Supreme Court adopt a new congressional map proposed by the League of Women Voters and Common Cause of Florida — one of the final steps in a prolonged legal battle that will likely net Democrats a few more House seats in 2016.

(See the differences between the current and proposed maps)

After the Florida state House and Senate could not come to an agreement on a new map during a special session in August , the Florida Supreme Court tasked judge Terry Lewis with making a recommendation on which map should be adopted for the 2016 cycle.  Operatives from both parties say the state Supreme Court is unlikely to tinker with Lewis’ recommendation.  

The map Lewis approved has sweeping implications for a handful of current members.  

Democratic Rep. Gwen Graham’s north Florida-based 2nd District will become much more Republican, making it unlikely she could win there in 2016. Graham has been adamant that she intends to stay in her seat, but it’s unclear whether she’ll change her mind now that the new map is more unfavorable.  

GOP Reps. Daniel Webster and David Jolly will also be unlikely to hold on to their seats, which are both set to become much more Democratic under the map Lewis recommended.  

Jolly already announced he’s running for Senate instead of for his Tampa-based seat, while Webster is mounting an uphill bid for speaker of the House .  

The recommended map also makes freshman Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo’s Miami-based 26th District more Democratic. Under the current map, President Barack Obama won the district with 53 percent in 2012. But the map Lewis recommended increases Obama’s vote percentage in the seat to 55 percent, according to an analysis from redistricting expert Matthew Isbell .  

The League of Women Voters, whose map Lewis recommended, initially filed the lawsuit that led the state Supreme Court to toss the congressional map drawn after the 2010 census.  

The court ruled earlier this year that the current map violates the state’s Fair Districts Amendment — a voter-passed initiative that sought to tamp down partisan gerrymandering.  


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