Soon after a slew of controversial laws was passed in Florida Legislature, Gov. Ron DeSantis has set his sights on his next target: Black congressional seats.
NBC News says the Republican governor, who has garnered more popularity among conservatives over the last few years, is now focused on redistricting two congressional districts held by Black Democrats: the north Florida seat occupied by Rep. Al Lawson and the Orlando-area district under Rep. Val Demings. His goal is to wipe them out entirely, reporters speculate.
DeSantis plans on tackling provisions in the federal Voting Rights Act, and his state's Constitution, that could weaken minority voting strength ahead of the November gubernatorial election, sources familiar with his plan told NBC News. To do this, however, he has to go against the Republican-dominated legislature that recently gave him so many political wins.
The governor vowed to veto congressional maps drawn up by legislators in his own party, which would keep Demings and Lawson's seats.
"It’s a win-win situation for him," Michael McDonald, a University of Florida political science professor says. "DeSantis wants to stand up for Republican interests because he doesn’t want to be labeled as the Republican who gave control of the U.S. House of Representatives to the Democrats. And second, he has a much larger agenda where he’s challenging Fair Districts and seeks to unravel parts of the Voting Right Act."
Other Florida Republicans say this is to strengthen DeSantis' 2024 presidential campaign.
"This whole session was a showcase for DeSantis," State Sen. Jeff Brandes, a Republican, told reporters. "A trial balloon for a White House campaign — and nationally he’s a 600-pound gorilla with the possibility of becoming an 800-pound gorilla, especially if he gets his way with these maps."
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