In a new email, District 3 candidate Mike Yost says that the state Senate’s proposal for Florida new congressional map fails to meet equal protection standards, specifically in the district for which he is campaigning. Even more, Yost writes that he is prepared to file suit should the Senate’s version be enacted into law.
“This past Monday, the Florida Senate released its version of the new Congressional Redistricting map,” writes Yost. “When we first looked at it our reaction was astonishment, and later turned to anger in the analysis. In no way can the Florida Senate Reapportionment Committee look you or I in the eye and say they followed the law in creating the 3rd Congressional District- and do so with a straight face.”
In his email, Yost writes that when he initially ran last year, his team believed he could win in a very close election, due to the changing demographics of District 3. But Yost lost to Democrat Corrine Brown, a 10-time incumbent. Brown’s district is one of the more creatively drawn in the entire country, and has become a poster child for the need for fairer districts in Florida. Spanning some 100-plus miles, District 3 stretches from Jacksonville all the way to Orlando, and even includes portions of Gainesville.
The so-called “Fair Districts” amendments — which force the state Legislature to redraw district lines so they are geographically logical and compact — passed overwhelmingly last year, but the road to new district lines has been a long one. According to Yost, the state Senate’s recently released map of redrawn district lines is disappointing.
“Prior to this map from the Florida Senate being released, I, along with many others, anticipated a far different District map that would reflect the votes of 63% of Florida voters to END the gerrymandering of this District,” he writes. “Instead of taking action accordingly, our elected Senators just threw cold water in our faces and produced a District that is nearly IDENTICAL to the current lines. If anything, it is even WORSE for opposing candidates to be able to run and be competitive. We don’t anticipate the Florida House maps will be much different.”
Yost contends that race became the predominate factor in redrawing the lines of District 3: ”When you take the map making software used by the Senate and overlay the racial minority population over it, you can see the obvious exclusion of as many white voters as possible.”
Yost goes on to write that his team has contacted an attorney and is prepared to file a suit should the Senate version be enacted into law.
“It is our belief that if this map is enacted into law that YOUR civil rights are being violated and that you have NO opportunity to elect a candidate of YOUR choice,” he writes. “We are preparing to file a suit to protect YOUR rights and the rights of ALL Floridians to end this blatant slap in YOUR face. Needless to say, this could be a protracted and costly battle but is one we feel we CAN and WILL win.”