St Johns County Senate District 6 defined

District-6-FL-SenateHistoric City News has received the Florida Senate redrawn district maps; approved after some last-minute adjustments applied yesterday over objections from half the chamber’s Democrats who said, “it did not go far enough to shake up the existing Republican supermajority”.

The revised map gives some senators the chance to serve for 10 years. Much of the discussion was focused on “fairness”, but no small portion of the debate centered on how reapportioning Senate districts affected potential election contests between existing senators.

The Senate applied the following “fixes” to comply with the court’s rejection of the original redistricting plan:

–      divide the Panhandle vertically

–      redraw three minority districts to make them more compact

–      re-number the districts using the results of a lottery-style drawing

The final map passed 31-6, and now heads to the House and then the state Supreme Court for their approval.

ST AUGUSTINE AND ST JOHNS COUNTY IN A NUTSHELL:
District: 6

Voting age population (%):
Hispanic: 5.6
White: 81.4
Black: 10.3
Other: 2.8

2010 Gubernatorial election: (%)
Voted for Sink: 39.5
Voted for Scott: 56.9

2008 Presidential election (%)
Voted for Obama: 42.9
Voted for McCain: 56.0

Registered voters: (%)
Democrats: 36.3
Republicans: 41.8
Independents: 21.9

St Augustine Republican Senator, John Thrasher, objected to one proposal that could help two incumbent Republican senators by keeping them in separate districts so they wouldn’t have to run against each other.  Thrasher questioned whether it was necessary.

Reapportionment Chairman Don Gaetz, R-Destin, and Sen. JD Alexander, R-Lake Wales, won the amendment, however, arguing that it would ensure the area surrounding Plant City remains with the rest of Hillsborough County.

TOTAL POP

White

Hispanic

Black

HXB

Other

Total Pop

Flagler

72860

11287

666

7585

3298

95696

Putnam

53981

12310

264

6442

1367

74364

St. Johns

162194

11310

474

9498

6563

190039

Volusia

80715

19057

454

5105

3163

108494

369750

53964

1858

28630

14391

468593

VOTING AGE

White

Hispanic

Black

HXB

Other

Total Pop

Flagler

60540

7868

396

5417

2439

76660

Putnam

44172

8249

126

3978

1054

57579

St. Johns

127373

7717

248

6438

4412

146188

Volusia

69677

14353

265

3780

2429

90504

301762

38187

1035

19613

10334

370931

The amendment passed on a narrow 20-15 vote. It would preserve another change suggested by the court and included in Gaetz’s revised plan: putting Lakeland in a single district. The city had filed a brief with the Supreme Court arguing it should not have been split between two districts.

The Senate rejected two proposed tweaks of districts around South Florida and Volusia counties that were proposed by Sen. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale. Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portillia, R-Miami, withdrew another amendment, which would have created a fourth predominantly Hispanic district in Miami-Dade County. He said the change in the demographics of the region called for the change, and hinted it could come up later.

The House is slated to take up the revised map in committee on Monday, and needs to approve it on the floor by Wednesday, the conclusion of the 15-day extraordinary session. This was the only chance for lawmakers to revise the Senate map, which will be in the hands of the Supreme Court once it receives final approval.

Gaetz said the Legislature’s “aggressive” redistricting calendar should allow the plan to clear all of its legal hurdles before the June 8 qualifying deadline. He also said that under the revised plan, districts would be more compact than under previous district maps, and the Senate would likely include more minority members than ever before if the plan takes effect as it is drawn.

Critics of the revisions said that although it redraws the eight districts singled out by the court and alters 24 of the districts in the original plan, most incumbents would be safe.

“This map still has the effect of protecting incumbents,” said Sen. Nan Rich, D-Sunrise, who voted against the plan along with five other Democrats. “I do not want the Supreme Court to finish the job that we were supposed to complete.”

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