Two top Republican leaders in Florida announced Tuesday that the Legislature would redraw the boundaries for the two congressional seats that a judge ruled unconstitutional, but they said they did not want the map to take effect until the 2016 elections. In agreeing, for the moment, not to appeal Thursday’s state court decision, Will Weatherford, the State House speaker, and Don Gaetz, the State Senate president, are hoping to persuade the judge that the 2014 elections would be thrown into “chaos” if the process was rushed. The Legislature’s decision surprised analysts and lawyers who expected a protracted legal fight. Still, the possibility of an appeal remains, depending on the judge’s decision.
Judge Terry P. Lewis ruled Thursday that to gain a Republican advantage, the Republican establishment had manipulated the redistricting process in two districts, one belonging to Representative Corrine Brown, a Democrat, and the other to Representative Daniel Webster, a Republican. Ms. Brown’s district unfurls like a snake from Jacksonville to Orlando. And Mr. Webster’s Orlando district had an “appendage” lumped on to it.
The League of Women Voters of Florida and other groups that brought the redistricting lawsuit said that voters should not have to vote in an election based on an unconstitutional map. They want to see the boundaries redrawn before the election, and they have asked Judge Lewis for an expedited hearing on the issue. But Mr. Gaetz and Mr. Weatherford disagreed. They said in a statement that rushing to redraw boundaries with Florida’s primary less than six weeks away would disrupt the elections and confuse voters.
Full Article: Florida G.O.P. Seeks Delay on New Districts – NYTimes.com.