Tennessee Democrats call for GOP to change redistricting plan or will contest it in court

Tennessee Democrats call for GOP to change redistricting plan or will contest it in court

January 5th, 2012 by Andy Sher in Local - Breaking News

An exterior view of the Tennessee State Capitol building.

Photo by The Tennessean /Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE - State House Democrats are demanding majority Republicans change a legislative redistricting plan or Democrats will march into court to contest the map when its enacted.

"We're headed to court, no doubt about it - unless something happens and the Republicans want to sit down and talk," Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner of Nashville told reporters today.

Republicans' plan, released Wednesday, squeezes eight Democratic incumbents into four seats, forcing them to run against each other. That includes two black lawmakers from Hamilton County - Reps. Tommie Brown, D-Chattanooga, and JoAnne Favors, D-Chattanooga.

In two other cases, incumbent Democrats will wind up running against incumbent Republicans in districts that lean Republican.

Turner said Democrats, having finally seen the GOP plan, are developing their own redistricting map.

"You will see they [Brown and Favors] will not be together" under the Democratic proposal, Turner said. "JoAnne will be in a Democratic district" as would Brown.

Republicans have said their plan is "fair and legal." Turner noted, "I got [GOP Caucus Chair Debra] Maggart on Fox News last night saying - 'Oh this is really fair' - [Expletive deleted]. They [Republicans] are trying to go to a one-party state."