Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Brown Lost Amendment Battle, Won Redistricting; ARGUMENT Challenge to the Way Districts Are Drawn Pitted Her against Allies RESULT New District Still Heavily Democratic; She Faces Little Opposition

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Brown Lost Amendment Battle, Won Redistricting; ARGUMENT Challenge to the Way Districts Are Drawn Pitted Her against Allies RESULT New District Still Heavily Democratic; She Faces Little Opposition

Article excerpt

Byline: Matt Dixon

TALLAHASSEE | It started nearly two years ago during a Tallahassee news conference.

U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, a Jacksonville Democrat, stood side-by-side with U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Miami Republican, to announce they had filed a lawsuit challenging one of Florida's two new Fair District amendments.

They were going after Amendment 6, which called for congressional districts to be drawn more compact and not favor a political party. Brown and Diaz-Balart said it would negatively impact minority voters.

Brown's opposition meant a fierce battle with both her own party and historic allies like the NAACP. Democratic-leaning interests poured millions into Fair Districts Now, the group pushing the amendments, and they had the support of most of Florida's African-American delegation and the Florida branch of the NAACP.

"It happens every time redistricting comes around," Brown said. "I'm with them 99 percent of the time, but on this we were never eye to eye."

So, after a federal lawsuit and a protracted battle with fellow Democrats, how have things changed for Brown as this year's election season heats up? In short, they haven't.

Her new seat includes parts of eight counties as it winds from Duval to Orange County. The new seat leans Democratic by a 61-21 margin, and went for President Barack Obama by more than 40 points in 2008. Brown has no primary opponent, and will face a poorly funded Republican and two candidates without party affiliation.

Brown lost the amendment battle, but won the redistricting war.

"It is interesting that after all of that not a lot changed," said Matt Corrigan, head of the University of North Florida's political science department. "Redistricting is both a balancing act and a political act."

For Diaz-Balart, a Republican, the lawsuit made sense. The state GOP spent $2.6 million fighting the measure, and most saw the changes as advantageous for Democratic candidates. But, in this case, the GOP also had Brown's back.

Republicans passed the map that included a relatively unchanged district for Brown, the Florida House joined Brown and Diaz-Balart's failed federal lawsuit, and the Republican-led Legislature fought a lawsuit from Florida Democrats that called Brown's district the "most gerrymandered in the country. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.