Congressman Al Lawson (D-FL-5) has filed to run in Florida’s second congressional district against incumbent Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL-2). Lawson currently holds the seat for district five, but the months-long congressional redistricting fight to preserve the boundaries of district five was secured in favor of the new maps earlier this month. Therefore, Lawson is seeking to unseat Dunn.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has backed the redistricting process including proposing the boundary changes for district five, claiming that it was an unconstitutional, racial-based gerrymander. District five, as of right now, snakes from Tallahassee across North Florida to Jacksonville’s northside. It comprises a majority minority district.
Numerous Florida Democrats and officials criticized the Florida Legislature’s process to approve the new congressional maps as the legislature reconvened Monday. Legislative leaders, last week announced they would be working on the new maps entirely proposed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ (R) office and would not be creating their own.
The first look at Florida’s new congressional maps have been released, and Florida’s newest district could have Polk County existing within its own congressional district. Florida currently has 27 districts but gained one after the 2020 census.
Congressional District 15, which is currently occupied by Rep. Scott Franklin (R-FL-15), represents northern Polk County, southern Lake County, and an eastern portion of Hillsborough County. Franklin could be inclined to run for re-election in the newest congressional district as he is a resident of Lakeland, Polk County’s largest city.
As a result of the 2020 census, Florida will gain one additional congressional seat, and Florida lawmakers will begin the process to redraw district lines in the upcoming fall committee weeks with the 2022 legislative session beginning in January.
“Prior to the start of the 2022 Regular Session the Legislature will hold interim committee meetings, at which time the committees that conduct the redistricting and reapportionment processes may meet,” according to the Florida Senate’s redistricting site.