published Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Tennessee House GOP unveils new redistricting plan

NASHVILLE — House Republicans today officially released a legislative redistricting plan that puts 12 incumbent lawmakers, most of them Democrats, into six districts.

The plan also creates six new House districts with no incumbent. Among the open seats is a newly drawn, Republican-leaning 29th Legislative District in Hamilton County that includes parts of Collegedale and Ooltewah.

Former Hamilton County General Sessions Court Judge Mike Carter told the Times Free Press he plans to run for the seat, provided his house is in the district. Other Republicans say the district contains Carter’s home address.

Two of the pairings of incumbents occur in Southeast Tennessee. Republicans, as expected, have merged parts of the current 29th Legislative District now held by Rep. JoAnne Favors, D-Chattanooga, into the 29th District, held by Rep. Tommie Brown, D-Chattanooga.

Both lawmakers are black.

Republicans say Brown’s district, which currently has a black majority, must take in additional black voters from Favor’s district to meet federal Voting Act requirements aimed at protecting minorities’ voting power.

Meanwhile, the 31st Legislative District, now held by Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City, has been redrawn to include Rep. Bill Harmon, D-Dunlap.

The existing 31st moves out of Hamilton County, retains Cobb’s home base of Rhea County, adds Sequatchie and Bledsoe counties and a portion of Roane County. Cobb said he plans to run and Harmon said he does, too.

In addition to the new seat in Hamilton, a second new district with no incumbent, House District 92, would be created. It is made up of Marshall and parts of Marion, Franklin and Lincoln counties. Marion has not been previously split.

The remainder of Marion would go into the 39th Legislative District now held by Rep. David Alexander, R-Winchester. Marion is currently part of Harmon’s district.

Grundy County, which Harmon also represented, will now go to the existing 43rd Legislative District held by Rep. Charles Curtiss, D-Sparta. It includes all of Grundy, part of Warren and all of White counties.

For complete details, see tomorrow’s Times Free Press.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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