WASHINGTON – Republicans gained a razor-thin majority in the House of Representatives, and so they owe their gratitude to 1 particular person greater than every other: Ron DeSantis, the governor, drew an aggressively gerrymandered congressional map that gave the GOP 4 extra Home seats in Florida.
DeSantis angered even Republicans within the state legislature by vetoing the map they’d drawn and insisting on one in every of his personal that produced extra seemingly GOP seats — partially by eliminating a Black-access seat in north Florida.
That transfer, taken this spring as Republicans across the nation bemoaned their lack of success at drawing extra seats following the decennial redistricting, may find yourself solely accounting for the distinction between Democratic and GOP management of the Home, given how few seats Republicans picked up within the midterms.
DeSantis’ workers didn’t reply to HuffPost queries, however high Republicans within the state acknowledged his function within the new GOP majority.
“With out Ron DeSantis informing the Florida legislature he supposed to veto the congressional map they handed and submitting his personal map creating 4 extra Republican seats, Nancy Pelosi could be settling in for one more time period as speaker,” stated Brian Ballard, a longtime lobbyist in Florida’s capital, Tallahassee, and a serious Republican donor. “Republicans throughout the nation ought to thank Gov. DeSantis for almost all we now have within the Home.”
These 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 previous president can 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 Home had been brought on by Trump’s insistence that candidates unfold his lies that the 2020 election had been “stolen” from him.
An analysis by Philip Wallach of the American Enterprise Institute of 144 aggressive Home races discovered that Trump-endorsed candidates underperformed by 5 share factors in comparison with their baseline. On 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 Home members, amongst others, and signal their consensus product into legislation.
The Florida legislature final 12 months 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 Courtroom rulings have given the inexperienced gentle to partisan gerrymandering and, as an alternative, 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 specialists. Florida’s Republican-led legislature authorised it relatively than persevering with a battle with DeSantis, and the brand new map now faces state and federal challenges.
“He deliberately did it,” stated David Jolly, a former GOP congressman from Tampa. “He desires it to be the DeSantis case that lastly has the excessive courtroom declare race-neutral maps constitutional. He desires the take a look at.”
The lively authorized circumstances may 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 might solely final one or two elections.
Mac Stipanovich, a one-time Republican guide in Tallahassee who deserted the social gathering after Trump took it over, stated DeSantis’ energy play is not going to actually be appreciated by common voters and may not even be determinative amongst Home Republicans as they resolve whom to help for 2024.
“Maybe he’s the hero,” Stipanovich added. “An excessive amount of inside baseball for all however the cognoscenti.”