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Tennessee state representative Vince Dean. Staff Photo by Patrick Smith

GOP gets supermajority in state Senate

NASHVILLE -- Tennessee Republicans have earned their first supermajority in the state Senate.

The GOP claimed at least two seats necessary in Tuesday's election to take a 22-11 margin in the upper chamber.

Democratic incumbent Tim Barnes was defeated by Mark Green in District 22, and Republican Joey Hensley defeated Tyler "Ty" Cobb in District 28.

The GOP also threatened to get a supermajority in the House, where only two seats were also needed. The margin was 64-34, with one independent, going into the election.

According to legislative records, the last time a party won a a supermajority in both chambers was in 1976, when Democrats controlled the Senate 23-9 and the House 66-32.

-Associated Press

Hamilton and area counties returned four incumbents to the Tennessee House of Representatives Tuesday, along with two new lawmakers.

Republicans Mike Carter of Hamilton County and Ron Travis of Rhea County will be the new lawmakers in delegation when the Tennessee General Assembly convenes in January 2013.

Incumbents returning will be Republicans Vince Dean, Richard Floyd and Gerald McCormick, along with Democrat JoAnne Favors.

House District 31

Ron Travis, 57, a Dayton businessman, had no Democratic opposition for House District 31.

Travis squeaked out a victory in the lively August primary election, defeating incumbent Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City, in a nail-biter vote count.

The district comprises all of Rhea, Sequatchie and Bledsoe counties and a portion of Roane County.

House District 30

Incumbent Rep. Vince Dean, R-East Ridge, defeated Democratic primary winner and retired 40-year teacher Sandy Norris Smith.

Dean, 53, a former East Ridge mayor and retired police officer, said Tuesday night he wants to keep focusing on job creation and the economy in his fifth term.

"I'm just glad the election's over and I can get back to work," he said.

House District 29

Republican Mike Carter, 58, was unopposed.

Carter, a lawyer who served as special assistant to long-time Hamilton County Mayor Claude Ramsey, left county government in 2011 to return to private practice after the appointment process to replace Ramsey resulted in a deadlocked 4-4 County Commission vote between him and now-mayor Jim Coppinger.

Instead of challenging Coppinger for mayor in August, Carter set his eyes on the state House's newly drawn and solidly Republican District 29.

He became the sole candidate for the seat, currently held by JoAnne Favors, who was redrawn into the 28th House district.

House District 28

Favors, D-Chattanooga, handily defeated her Republican opponent, Johnny W. Horne.

Favors could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

She joined the Tennessee General Assembly in 2005.

House District 27

Incumbent Rep. Richard Floyd bested Democrat Frank Eaton.

Floyd, a three-term incumbent and a 68-year-old Coca-Cola Bottling Co. retiree, said he is thankful for the hard work his campaign and volunteers put into the effort. He said he never took winning for granted.

"You can never underestimate any opponent and Mr. Eaton was a good opponent," he said.

House District 26

Incumbent House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, defeated Independent W. Rodger Cooksey.

McCormick, 50, co-owns a commercial real estate development and brokerage company. He first joined the Tennessee General Assembly in 2005.

Contact staff writer Pam Sohn at 423-757-6346 or Contact staff writer Cliff Hightower at or 423-757-6480. Follow him at or