Florida’s Ron DeSantis Could Wind Up the House GOP Hero With His Aggressive Gerrymander

WASHINGTON – Republicans received a razor-thin majority within the House of Representatives, they usually owe their gratitude to at least one particular person greater than some other: Ron DeSantis, the governor, drew an aggressively gerrymandered congressional map that gave the GOP 4 extra House seats in Florida.

DeSantis angered even Republicans within the state legislature by vetoing the map that they had drawn and insisting on certainly one of his personal that produced extra possible GOP seats — partly by eliminating a Black-access seat in north Florida.

That move, taken this spring as Republicans across the nation bemoaned their lack of success at drawing extra seats following the decennial redistricting, might find yourself totally accounting for the distinction between Democratic and GOP management of the House, given how few seats Republicans picked up within the midterms.

DeSantis’ employees didn’t reply to HuffPost queries, however high Republicans within the state acknowledged his position within the new GOP majority.

“Without Ron DeSantis informing the Florida legislature he intended to veto the congressional map they passed and submitting his own map creating four more Republican seats, Nancy Pelosi would be settling in for another term as speaker,” stated Brian Ballard, a longtime lobbyist in Florida’s capital, Tallahassee, and a significant Republican donor. “Republicans across the country should thank Gov. DeSantis for the majority we have in the House.”

Florida Gov. Ron Desantis, Who Has Been Tipped As A Possible 2024 Presidential Candidate, Was Projected As One Of The Early Winners Of The Midterm Election.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has been tipped as a doable 2024 presidential candidate, was projected as one of many early winners of the midterm election.

GIORGIO VIERA by way of Getty Images

Those 4 seats from DeSantis, who many Republicans in Florida anticipate will announce a presidential run subsequent spring, distinction favorably with the seats misplaced by Donald Trump. The former president can also be working for the GOP nomination and has been attacking DeSantis for weeks.

Trump tried to take away each Republican member of Congress who voted to question him following his coup try that culminated within the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol. This resulted in major losses by Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer and Washington Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler. On Tuesday, the 2 Trump-backed Republicans who defeated them misplaced to Democrats.

It can’t be identified for sure what number of different shut GOP losses within the House had been brought on by Trump’s insistence that candidates unfold his lies that the 2020 election had been “stolen” from him.

An evaluation by Philip Wallach of the American Enterprise Institute of 144 aggressive House races discovered that Trump-endorsed candidates underperformed by 5 proportion factors in comparison with their baseline. At the identical time, those that Trump didn’t again overperformed by 2.2 factors.

Trump’s affect was extra readily obvious within the Senate, the place his election-lying candidates misplaced in Nevada, Arizona, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, leading to a Democratic acquire of 1 seat and guaranteeing Democrats’ management of that chamber. Hershel Walker, additionally an election liar and one particularly recruited by Trump, is in a Dec. 6 runoff with incumbent Democrat Sen. Raphael Warnock in Georgia.

In Florida, governors have traditionally let state lawmakers draw up a congressional map with enter from the sitting House members, amongst others, and signal their consensus product into legislation.

The Florida legislature final yr once more produced a map that, whereas favoring the ruling Republicans, didn’t dramatically change the partisan steadiness of the congressional delegation. Legislative leaders had been cautious to heed a scolding from the Florida Supreme Court from 2015, which dominated that its earlier map violated a constitutional modification handed by voters in 2010 that banned partisan gerrymandering and guarded minority entry seats.

DeSantis didn’t care about that Florida ruling, arguing that U.S. Supreme Court rulings have given the inexperienced mild to partisan gerrymandering and, as a substitute, have taken a dim view of districts drawn to favor racial minorities.

DeSantis, a former member of Congress himself, vetoed that map and introduced lawmakers with one he had drafted with assist from nationwide Republican gerrymandering consultants. Florida’s Republican-led legislature accredited it quite than persevering with a battle with DeSantis, and the brand new map now faces state and federal challenges.

“He intentionally did it,” stated David Jolly, a former GOP congressman from Tampa. “He wants it to be the DeSantis case that finally has the high court declare race-neutral maps constitutional. He wants the test.”

The energetic authorized circumstances might find yourself with one other court-drawn map such because the one the Florida excessive courtroom produced following its 2015 choice — which means that DeSantis’ four-seat bonus could solely final one or two elections.

Mac Stipanovich, a one-time Republican advisor in Tallahassee who deserted the get together after Trump took it over, stated DeSantis’ energy play won’t actually be appreciated by common voters and won’t even be determinative amongst House Republicans as they determine whom to assist for 2024.

“Perhaps he is the hero,” Stipanovich added. “Too much inside baseball for all but the cognoscenti.”