Chattanooga Sen. Berke will back state Senate remap plan

photo Tennessee Senator Andy Berke

NASHVILLE - Sen. Andy Berke, D-Chattanooga, said he plans to vote for a Republican-drawn redistricting plan after Republicans agreed to shift back a number of precincts that would have gone into Republican Sen. Bo Watson's district in Hamilton County back to the 10th Senatorial District represented by Berke.

"Sen. Watson and I sat down and looked at a number of the precincts in Hamilton County. There were a number of precincts that made more sense to be in the 10th District because of the commonality of interest. They didn't make all the changes I requested but they made some."

He said he would support the plan in the "spirit of trying to make sure that those precincts go into the 10th."

The move makes what was a strongly leaning Republican district somewhat more competitive for a Democrat. But it still will include new Republican areas such as East Ridge and a portion of Bradley County.

Senators have just started discussion of the overall redistricting plan that redraws all 33 Senate districts.

Rep. Vince Dean, R-East Ridge, has shown interest in running in the redrawn 10th. Berke has said he believes he could still win but is also showing interest in running for mayor of Chattanooga.