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It Was Gerrymandering, Not Obamacare

The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

In the Congressional District 13 special election, won by Republican David Jolly, most commentators have ascribed Democrat Alex Sink's loss to a public aversion to Obamacare. The ad buys that hammered away at the health law may have had some impact, but that didn't matter as much as the legacy of gerrymandering, writes Martin Dyckman in

He writes: "The unofficial totals indicate that the Democrats actually turned out a slightly higher percentage of their registered voters than the Republicans did.

"Both were over 50 percent, which is considered decent for a special election.

"There were simply more Republicans to start with, thanks to gerrymandering."

The district had been "bleached" of the majority of its black voters decades ago in order to make it a safe Republican district for the late Congressman Republican Bill Young, Dyckman explains.

(Dyckman covered government and politics and later joined the editorial board of the St. Petersburg Times, where he retired in 2006 as associate editor. He now lives in Waynesville, N.C.)

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.