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ProPublica reporting suggests partisan intent behind DeSantis' congressional map

Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Feb. 24, 2022, in Orlando, FL.
John Raoux
/
AP
Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Feb. 24, 2022, in Orlando, FL.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has publicly claimed that Florida’s heavily Republican congressional map was not drawn with partisan intent — but that doesn’t line up with the findings of a ProPublica investigation published this week.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has publicly claimed that Florida’s heavily Republican congressional map was not drawn with partisan intent — but that doesn’t line up with the findings of a ProPublica investigation published this week.

ProPublica's reporting reveals that GOP operatives known for helping craft partisan gerrymandered maps in other Republican-controlled states were working with DeSantis’ staff as they were drawing Florida’s new map.

DeSantis was "frustrated" that the legislature’s map didn’t give Republicans a big enough advantage before he pushed lawmakers to pass his map, the reporting suggests.

The state constitution’s Fair Districts’ Amendments prohibit drawing maps in a way that intentionally benefits a particular party.

DeSantis’ map is facing lawsuits in federal and state court over its elimination of two of the state’s four Black-held congressional districts.

One of those is North Florida Democratic Congressman Al Lawson’s District 5. That district was carved up into four white-majority, Republican districts, wiping out the region's Black representation in Congress.

Plaintiffs suing in state court also argue the map was an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.

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Valerie Crowder is a freelance reporter based in Panama City, Florida. Before moving to Florida, she covered politics and education for Public Radio East in New Bern, North Carolina. While at PRE, she was also a fill-in host during All Things Considered. She got her start in public radio at WAER-FM in Syracuse, New York, where she was a part-time reporter, assistant producer and host. She has a B.A. in newspaper online journalism and political science from Syracuse University. When she’s not reporting the news, she enjoys reading classic fiction and thrillers, hiking with members of the Florida Trail Association and doing yoga.