published Friday, January 6th, 2012

Proposed congressional maps change Tennessee's 3rd, 4th districts


by Chris Carroll
New congressional district map proposal by members of the GOP-controlled Tennessee Legislature. The proposal would reshape districts in and around Chattanooga.
New congressional district map proposal by members of the GOP-controlled Tennessee Legislature. The proposal would reshape districts in and around Chattanooga.

Members of the GOP-controlled state Legislature today released a new congressional district map proposal, potentially reshaping districts in and around Chattanooga for the next decade.

Under the new proposal, Tennessee’s 3rd Congressional District would keep Hamilton and Anderson counties, retaining Chattanooga and Oak Ridge as its major urban centers.

But Bradley County, a longtime 3rd District county, would be split in half between the 3rd and 4th districts. It’s unclear where Cleveland, Bradley County’s largest city, would fall.

Currently represented by U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, the 3rd Congressional District would gain McMinn, Monroe, Morgan and Scott counties, parts of Campbell County and all of Roane County, some of which is already included in the 3rd. Polk and Union counties would stay in the 3rd District, according to the new map.

The 3rd District would lose Claiborne, Grainger, Meigs, Rhea counties and parts of Bradley and Jefferson counties, according to the new map.

Meigs and Rhea counties and the northernmost parts of Bradley County would move into the 4th Congressional District. Claiborne and Grainger counties and parts of Jefferson County would move into the 2nd Congressional District, which is comprised of Knoxville and several of its surrounding counties.

The biggest addition to Tennessee’s 4th Congressional District is Rutherford County, which includes Murfreesboro. Politically, that could be troubling for the district’s current occupant, U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, a Republican.

Republican State Sens. Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro and Jim Tracy of Shelbyville have indicated interest in running for the 4th District seat this year depending on how the Legislature redraws the maps.

Both live in what would be the new 4th District, according to the Associated Press.

Drawn by committees in both houses of the Legislature, the map will now go to lawmakers for review and approval, according to a news release from House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville. Officials did not immediately announce a timetable.

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