In a guest editorial published in Northwest Florida Daily News, state Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Shalimar, makes an explicitly partisan argument for the newspaper’s readers to vote down Amendments 5 and 6 — the so-called “Fair Districts” amendments that would create rules limiting politicians’ power to gerrymander districts.
“Amendments 5 and 6 pose a greater risk to the conservative cause than any liberal currently running for office,” Gaetz writes, before citing the names of donors who have supported the amendments. Gaetz concludes:
If the special interests are successful — if Amendments 5 and 6 pass — Florida will be a very different place to live and do business. Democrats could sue their way into a majority in the Florida Legislature. State income taxes, increased business regulations and limitations on the free market would all be back on the table. Our state would move quickly in the wrong direction. A weakened conservative minority could offer only token resistance.
We all get it. This election is critically important to the future of our nation and our state. Vote no on Amendments 5 and 6 and keep the conservative comeback alive in Florida.
The newspaper’s own editorial page notes the candidness of Gaetz’s piece, and uses that fact to urge readers to support the amendments:
Rep. Gaetz believes these fairness standards would derail the “conservative comeback.” Is he saying that the Republican ascendancy in Florida DEPENDS on legislative and congressional districts that are drawn to favor incumbents and designed to aid his party?
We sincerely hope that’s not what he means.
At the very least, Rep. Gaetz’s column gives us some insight into how the political establishment feels about Amendments 5 and 6. For those holding the reins of power — Republican or Democrat, now or in the future — Nos. 5 and 6 threaten to upset the applecart. No more jiggering of district lines to give one incumbent, or one party, or one voting bloc an unfair advantage.
Opponents of Amendments 5 and 6 generally speak against the amendments in nonpartisan terms, but the majority of funding for Protect Your Vote, the political action committee opposing 5 and 6, in fact comes from the Republican Party of Florida.