Vote Latino President María Teresa Kumar argued on Saturday that gerrymandering was a factor in Gov. Ron DeSantis’ re-election, despite his race being a statewide office.
Kumar appeared as a guest host on MSNBC’s "Velshi," where a panel discussed former President Trump’s effect on the Republican Party. The discussion soon focused on DeSantis as a kind of successor to "Trumpism" for his rise in popularity
However, Kumar claimed that his success, even in the state of Florida, is due not to DeSantis’ record as governor, but because he "gerrymandered" the state.
"Is Ron DeSantis Trump 2.0? And a lot of people are asking this question, but one of the things that has been underreported is the fact that Ron DeSantis, yes, he won, but he highly gerrymandered the state of Florida and oftentimes, people say, ‘well, that was, you know, he was a statewide office.’ But gerrymandering has the impact of chilling potential voters for the opposite side of going out and voting. There’s no way he could gerrymander himself across 50 states. What would be his pathway?" Kumar asked.
"Well, he also can't gerrymander himself political charisma or retail politics either," The Lincoln Project’s senior advisor Tara Setmayer joked.
"You said it!" Kumar responded.
Gerrymandering is the process of drawing electoral districts in a way that benefits a political party. Although both political parties redrawn congressional districts to affect House elections, some races, including gubernatorial elections, are voted on statewide elections, which are unaffected by district lines.
"Yes, gerrymandering was an issue. It was also an issue in New York for the Democrats. It’s something I think is part of our electoral reforms we need to look at moving forward, to help open up the system that seems to be a danger to the system, that encourages more extreme candidates in some places. That’s a whole different set of issues, talking about gerrymandering and primary reform. But it’s something that should be on the table," Setmayer said.
She argued that DeSantis would not have a chance in an election outside Florida.
"Well obviously, they haven’t seen Ron DeSantis outside of Florida. He was a seat congressman no one really knew before Donald Trump propped him up. You see that Ron DeSantis has begun to fashion himself in the image and likeness of Trump, even to the way, his mannerisms and everything. It is so transparent. When he gets on the ground in New Hampshire and Iowa, people are going to see that this guy doesn’t have it. Donald Trump’s political gravity defying tactics do not apply to everyone else. So, it’s going to be a rude awakening for folks who think Ron DeSantis is the Republican savior," Setmayer said.
Shortly after DeSantis’ re-election, editors of Florida’s Sun-Sentinel newspaper similarly accused the governor of "racial gerrymandering" to secure his race.
DeSantis easily defeated his Democratic opponent Charlie Crist by nearly 20 points and 1.5 million votes. This marked a huge improvement from DeSantis’ 2018 victory over Andrew Gillum where the Republican won by only 33,000 votes.
In addition, DeSantis made history as the first Republican to win the heavily Hispanic Miami-Dade County in 20 years. The last Republican governor who won the county was Jeb Bush in 2002.