Florida’s legislature will not contest a ruling that invalidated the state’s 2012 congressional redistricting, establishing that state law was violated when the borders were drawn.
Late Thursday, Florida Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis ruled the Florida congressional districts drawn by the state’s mostly Republican Florida House and Senate amounted to a “secret, organized campaign,” Patch reported last week.
Florida Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford issued a joint statement Tuesday saying they will comply with Lewis' order to redraw the districts of Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Jacksonville) and Daniel Webster (R-Orlando) for gerrymandering.
But, there’s a catch.
“While the court directed that Congressional Districts 5 and 10 be redrawn... the court rejected the Plaintiffs’ challenge to the other districts,” Gaetz and Weatherford said in the statement, "thereby upholding 25 of 27 congressional districts statewide and leaving intact the vast majority of the actions taken by the Legislature.”
But, that’s impossible.
The redrawing of District 5 and District 10 boundaries will necessarily change the boundaries of the eight other congressional districts that border it at least (see top for map of contested districts: Florida Senate).
These districts include parts of the I-4 corridor from Orlando to Daytona, St. Johns River communities, and the Jacksonville area.
Gaetz and Weatherford are asking Judge Lewis if the ruling will affect the 2014 election cycle, in which incumbent Gov. Rick Scott is up for re-election in November.
The legislators said in the statement that 63,000 Florida military and overseas voters are already casting absentee ballots based on the current congressional map.
They say any change would cause “chaos and confusion.”
Balloting has begun for the statewide Democratic gubernatorial primary, pitting former state Democratic chair Nan Rich against Scott’s predecessor and expected challenger Charlie Crist.The primary is scheduled for Aug. 26.