Republican Johnny Horne faces an uphill battle to defeat Democratic state Rep. JoAnne Favors. Favors defeated 20-year incumbent state Rep. Tommie Brown in the Democratic primary after reapportionment left the two state lawmakers living in the same state House district.
The 28th District, which was redrawn to collect as many liberal pockets of Chattanooga as possible (namely the Southside, Highland Park and Avondale communities), is now one of the most Democratic-leaning in the entire state.
In fact, it is one of the few Democratic state House districts in the state, period. And that's what makes Horne's case for election particularly compelling.
With Republicans on the verge of taking control of a supermajority of the seats in the Tennessee General Assembly, which would allow them to govern even if no Democrats bothered to show up to Legislative Plaza, Democrats will be largely ineffective at representing their constituents.
Horne, a moderate Republican who leads the congregation of a small, predominantly black church in the Curtis Street neighborhood, is poised to offer a voice for the 28th State House District that Favors can no longer effectively provide. As Horne points out, "As a Republican, I'll have a seat at the table."
It's hard to argue with Horne's logic. As effective as state Rep. Favors may have been representing her district when Democrats controlled the Tennessee House, this newly configured 28th District will be one of the lowest priorities for members of the state legislature - despite the fact that it faces issues related to unemployment, crime, education and poverty that should make it a top concern.
A Vietnam veteran, Horne has been active in service to the community, directing the Learning Academy and the Sports Academy Program at Howard High School. He also served as a commissioner on the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth and sat on the boards of Chattanooga Human Services and the Chattanooga Creek Cleanup Advisory Group.
Horne can make sure the people of the district are not forgotten in Nashville. For that reason, the Free Press endorses Johnny Horne to represent District 28 in the Tennessee State House.