Tennessee's Redistricting News
The Chattanoogan: "City Council Agrees
On Redistricting Plan." August 19, 2003
More Redistricting News from Tennessee (March 24, 2001-January 8, 2002)
City Council members have reached agreement on a redistricting plan, though they said all nine council members had to make concessions.
"I don't think anyone is as happy as they were with their old district. We all had to give up. I don't think there are any winners," Councilman Jack Benson said.
The plan gives three districts (5, 8 and 9) that are heavily black and a fourth (7) with a 54 percent black majority.
City Attorney Randy Nelson said that is in line with the fact the black population of Chattanooga is at 36 percent.
He said the district with 54 percent black is probably a 50-50 situation, noting that minorities are a younger population with fewer eligible voters.
The plan goes up for first reading next Tuesday, then will be on second and third readings the following Tuesday. It will go into effect two weeks later.
The next general city election is not until April 2005.
The council has been working on the redistricting for over a year, and this was the sixth draft.
Councilman Benson has the fastest-growing district, and he "lost" 4,000 citizens in the new plan.
Attorney Nelson said care was taken to keep existing council members in their present district. He noted that two council members are in side-by-side precincts at Wauhatchie-St. Elmo (John Lively and John Taylor).
The council has to redistrict every 10 years based on the new census.
Here are details of the redistricting:
Precinct Total White % Black % Other %
Lookout Valley 1 Chatt 1 1,560 1,537 98.53% 2 0.13% 21 1.35% Lookout Valley 3 Chatt 1 112 112 100.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% Lookout Valley East 1 2,473 2,416 97.70% 6 0.24% 51 2.06% Lookout Valley West 1 567 555 97.88% 3 0.53% 9 1.59% Moccasin Bend 1 3,280 2,323 70.82% 838 25.55% 119 3.63% Mountain Creek 1 1 2,885 2,584 89.57% 196 6.79% 105 3.64% Mountain Creek 2 1 4,001 3,288 82.18% 446 11.15% 267 6.67% Mountian Creek 4 1 9 9 100.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% North Chattanooga 2 1 1,189 1,129 94.95% 43 3.62% 17 1.43% Northwoods North 2 1 816 791 96.94% 6 0.74% 19 2.33% Total 16,892 14,744 87.28% 1,540 9.12% 608 3.60%
Lupton City 2 1,416 1,338 94.49% 28 1.98% 50 3.53% North Chattanooga 1 2 1,151 1,106 96.09% 18 1.56% 27 2.35% Northgate 2 3,941 3,529 89.55% 198 5.02% 214 5.43% Northwoods South 2 2,893 2,515 86.93% 212 7.33% 166 5.74% Red Bank 6 2 6 6 100.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% Riverview 2 3,333 3,085 92.56% 160 4.80% 88 2.64% Stuart Heights 2 2,355 2,156 91.55% 130 5.52% 69 2.93% Stuart Heights 2 2 1,329 1,245 93.68% 37 2.78% 47 3.54% Total 16,424 14,980 91.21% 783 4.77% 661 4.02%
DuPont 3 2,430 2,270 93.42% 32 1.32% 128 5.27% Hixson 1 3 3,232 2,911 90.07% 196 6.06% 125 3.87% Hixson 2 3 2,779 2,524 90.82% 47 1.69% 208 7.48% Hixson 3 3 2,425 2,261 93.24% 55 2.27% 109 4.49% Murray Hills 3 3,240 2,156 66.54% 987 30.46% 97 2.99% Northwood North 3 Chatt 3 99 99 100.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% Northwoods North 1 3 3,052 2,703 88.56% 196 6.42% 153 5.01% Pleasant Grove 1 3 2 2 100.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% Total 17,259 14,926 86.48% 1,513 8.77% 820 4.75%
Concord 1 4 3,208 2,835 88.37% 219 6.83% 154 4.80% Concord 2 4 4,148 3,171 76.45% 733 17.67% 244 5.88% East Brainerd 1 4 3,074 2,737 89.04% 198 6.44% 139 4.52% East Brainerd 2 4 4,260 3,646 85.59% 385 9.04% 229 5.38% Ooltewah 1 Chatt 4 51 51 100.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% Ooltewah 3 4 0 0 - 0 - 0 - Summit Chatt 4 0 0 - 0 - 0 - Tyner 1 4 2,483 1,988 80.06% 285 11.48% 210 8.46% 17,224 14,428 83.77% 1,820 10.57% 976 5.67%
Bonny Oaks 5 3,770 1,097 29.10% 2,558 67.85% 115 3.05% Dalewood 5 3,307 512 15.48% 2,757 83.37% 38 1.15% Eastgate 2 5 2,903 1,568 54.01% 1,219 41.99% 116 4.00% Kingspoint 5 2,927 908 31.02% 1,980 67.65% 39 1.33% Lake Hills 5 2,290 1,390 60.70% 849 37.07% 51 2.23% Woodmore 5 2,915 521 17.87% 2,344 80.41% 50 1.72% Total 18,112 5,996 33.11% 11,707 64.64% 409 2.26%
Airport 6 2,464 1,442 58.52% 899 36.49% 123 4.99% Airport 2 6 3 3 100.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% Airport 3 6 0 0 - 0 - 0 - Airport 4 6 582 515 88.49% 44 7.56% 23 3.95% Brainerd 1 6 1,855 1,614 87.01% 159 8.57% 82 4.42% Brainerd Hills 6 3,421 2,433 71.12% 732 21.40% 256 7.48% Concord 3 6 739 641 86.74% 46 6.22% 52 7.04% Eastgate 1 6 847 577 68.12% 161 19.01% 109 12.87% Missionary Ridge South 6 1,520 1,347 88.62% 120 7.89% 53 3.49% Missionary Ridge South 2 6 6 6 100.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% Missionary Ridge South 3 6 11 6 54.55% 5 45.45% 0 0.00% Sunnyside 6 2,548 1,276 50.08% 1,202 47.17% 70 2.75% Tyner 2 6 2,479 1,802 72.69% 556 22.43% 121 4.88% Tyner 3 6 0 0 - 0 - 0 - Tyner 4 6 41 24 58.54% 16 39.02% 1 2.44% Total 16,516 11,686 70.76% 3,940 23.86% 890 5.39%
Alton Park 7 3,252 56 1.72% 3,123 96.03% 73 2.24% Cedar Hill 7 1,395 1,197 85.81% 123 8.82% 75 5.38% East Lake 7 4,998 3,564 71.31% 1,186 23.73% 248 4.96% Howard 7 1,984 161 8.11% 1,726 87.00% 97 4.89% Piney Woods 7 1,043 36 3.45% 978 93.77% 29 2.78% Ridgedale 7 2,188 658 30.07% 1,289 58.91% 241 11.01% St Elmo 7 2,779 1,564 56.28% 1,072 38.58% 143 5.15% St Elmo Extension 2 Chatt 7 52 46 88.46% 5 9.62% 1 1.92% Total 17,691 7,282 41.16% 9,502 53.71% 907 5.13%
Amnicola 8 187 98 52.41% 70 37.43% 19 10.16% Avondale 8 4,287 52 1.21% 4,173 97.34% 62 1.45% City Hall 8 1,398 410 29.33% 927 66.31% 61 4.36% Clifton Hills 1 8 351 213 60.68% 120 34.19% 18 5.13% Clifton Hills 2 8 150 9 6.00% 141 94.00% 0 0.00% Clifton Hills 3 8 596 29 4.87% 558 93.62% 9 1.51% Clifton Hills 4 8 728 308 42.31% 381 52.34% 39 5.36% Clifton Hills 5 8 28 9 32.14% 19 67.86% 0 0.00% Courthouse 8 3,422 1,833 53.57% 1,449 42.34% 140 4.09% Downtown 8 3,346 1,044 31.20% 2,177 65.06% 125 3.74% Eastside 8 2,930 944 32.22% 1,682 57.41% 304 10.38% Eastside 2 8 190 91 47.89% 65 34.21% 34 17.89% Total 17,613 5,040 28.62% 11,762 66.78% 811 4.60%
Brainerd 2 9 1,565 646 41.28% 871 55.65% 48 3.07% Bushtown 9 1,520 78 5.13% 1,419 93.36% 23 1.51% East Chattanooga 1 9 2,347 924 39.37% 1,369 58.33% 54 2.30% East Chattanooga 2 9 321 37 11.53% 280 87.23% 4 1.25% East Chattanooga 3 9 625 160 25.60% 443 70.88% 22 3.52% Eastdale 9 3,723 310 8.33% 3,373 90.60% 40 1.07% Eastdale 2 9 269 23 8.55% 246 91.45% 0 0.00% Glenwood 9 2,538 343 13.51% 2,154 84.87% 41 1.62% Highland Park 9 2,288 1,068 46.68% 1,006 43.97% 214 9.35% Missionary Ridge North 9 810 202 24.94% 589 72.72% 19 2.35% Orchard Knob 9 1,803 31 1.72% 1,739 96.45% 33 1.83% Total 17,809 3,822 21.46% 13,489 75.74% 498 2.80%
GRAND TOTAL 155,540 92,904 59.73% 56,056 36.04% 6,580 4.23%
Chattanooga City Council members are about to make some tough decisions.
It's time for redistricting. The convenience of the East Brainerd area is attracting thousands of people to that community, according to the 2000 U.S. Census.
That's good news for retailers at Hamilton Place. But, bad news for the heart of Chattanooga, where many of those people used to live. It's also bad news for some city council members.
"Well, there's always people moving in and out of your district, from one census to another. And, we have to come together to try to equalize those numbers," says Redistricting Committee Chair Councilman Leamon Pierce.
The only way to do that is to redraw district lines, which is required after every census. The goal is to have about 17, 280 residents per district, give or take 10%.
District Four includes the overcrowded East Brainerd area. So, Councilman Jack Benson will have to lose some voters.
"District Four we know that we're going to have to shift -- probably shift -- some council members in other districts will have to move that way to pick up some of those people," says City Council Management Analyst Randy Burns.
The geographical make-up of Chattanooga, like the mountains and the close proximity to Georgia, makes it even more difficult to draw new lines.
"Councilman Taylor, his back is against the wall with the Georgia line. He'll have to push back out one way or another to get his numbers back up," says Pierce.
Even his district has lost residents. Pierce explains that the Tennessee River limits how his area will be reconfigured.
"Never will everyone be happy. But, I think we'll all be able to come to an agreement on it," he says.
And, there's plenty of time. Council members have until March 2004, a year before the next election, to draw up a final redistricting map.
City Council Management Analyst Randy Burns says every effort will be made not to change districts too much. Minority representation on the council will likely be maintained as well. As of now there are three predominantly African-American districts. One is considered a swing district.
A Nashville man has asked a Davidson County Chancery Court to review Tennessee's 2002 redistricting plan, which he says illegally dilutes African-American voting power.
Melvin L. Gill Jr. says more than 1,500 African-American residents in the majority black House District 54 have been shifted to House District 55, where the black vote is diluted by a ''supermajority white population'' of more than 80%.
The redistricting, Gill said, ''effectively disenfranchises those displaced black citizens who are part of the Enchanted Hills community and the County Hospital Road community.''
Gill said the dilution violates state and federal statutes.
The redistricting � hammered out by legislators to reflect the latest U.S. Census tallies � became law in January.
Gill's suit, filed May 24, asks that the court replace the 2002 plan with a new one, all before the Aug. 1 election. Defendants include Gov. Don Sundquist, Lt. Gov. John Wilder, House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh, Secretary of State Riley Darnell and state Rep. Edith Taylor Langster, D-Nashville.
The state attorney general's office has yet to see a copy of the suit, according to spokesman Sharon Curtis-Flair.
The suit is before Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle.
Tennessee congressmen will be the envy of their colleagues. Their redistricting plan was unveiled on Tuesday and passed by the legislature on Thursday.
But the speed of passage prevented any real debate over whether a plan so accommodating to the incumbents is good for the people.
For instance, is Shelby County better off represented by three congressmen, one of whom lives in the county, or by two congressmen likely from the county?
Can one person adequately represent interests ranging from East Memphis to the Nashville suburbs in the new Seventh District, or Frayser to Dickson County in the new Eighth District?
The districts' representatives, Democrat John Tanner of Union City and Republican Ed Bryant of HenDerson, say yes, of course.
But Memphis Democrat Harold Ford Jr., who represents Shelby's Ninth District, agrees with Republican re districting guru John Ryder of Memphis that Shelby County would be better off split into two districts, not three.
"I think Memphis deserves two congressmen," said Ford. "Memphis's needs are more urban than they are rural."
Tanner's Shelby County voters will account for only 12 percent of his constituents, but he still cares.
"West Tennessee is an integral part of what happens in Memphis and what happens in Memphis has a strong influence on what happens in West Tennessee," said Tanner.
The strongest case for a three-way split is that when Shelby leaders need help from Congress, it's better to have three signatures on a letter instead of two, and with three districts it has representation on more committees. Tanner sits on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, Bryant on Energy and Commerce committees, and Ford on Financial Services and Education committees.
"You just multiply your strength," Bryant said. "I don't think I've ever had a situation where I was split between areas I represent."
He came close. Clarksville officials wanted the proposed Interstate 69 to swing through their city instead of Memphis. Kentucky pre-empted a conflict by choosing a western path along the U.S. 51 corridor.
Rep. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) is pondering a similar redistricting problem as he awaits a fight in the Legislature and the courts over a Democratic plan that would combine DeSoto County with Rankin County, bordering Jackson, Miss.
Pleas from Rankin County for federal aid for infrastructure to accommodate its new Nissan plant would "have to compete with the huge demands that we have for growth in DeSoto County," said Wicker.
Even for a member of the Appropriations Committee, "it's hard to go to the well that often," Wicker said.
Ryder said combining suburban areas from separate metropolitan areas represents the "traditional liberal Democratic idea that people are to be measured not by their humanity, but by their affiliations."
The Memphis and Nashville metro areas each deserve two congressmen, one for the urban core and one for the suburbs, said Ryder.
"We ought to have relatively compact congressional districts that reflect two true communities of interest," he said.
The principal author of the redistricting plan and senior Democrat in the delegation, Bart Gordon of Murfreesboro, scoffs.
"Even if you had two districts (for Shelby County) you would still have to pick up a lot of outside people and probably have to go to Williamson anyway," said Gordon.
But it was politics, not just population, that determined the map. When Republican Rep. Van Hilleary of Spring City decided to run for governor, Democrats were free to pick over his Fourth District like a turkey carcass to create a Democratic-leaning district.
From his own district, Gordon conveniently dumped a surplus 100,000 residents form mostly Republican Williamson County into Bryant's Seventh District. The Shelby portion left in the Seventh will have 189,153 residents, about 30 percent of the district.
Bryant plans to retire in 2006. Two potential Republican replacements from Memphis, Councilman Brent Taylor and attorney David Kustoff, said they are undaunted by the changes in the district.
But if too many Shelby candidates run, a Republican from Williamson or a rural county could take the seat, just as Bryant did when he defeated four Shelby candidates in the Republican primary in 1994.
Ford concedes the plan is the best they could do under the circumstances.
"It's an inherently political process," he said.
Friends in High Places
Tennessee's Democratic-controlled Legislature passed a new House map last week that increased Democrats' strength in retiring Rep. Van Hilleary's (R) district, further boosting state Sen. Lincoln Davis' (D) bid to succeed the incumbent.
"It was a good day for Democratic efforts to retake the House,"said Rep. Bart Gordon (D), whose 6th district shed GOP-leaning Williamson County, the only locality he has ever lost in a general election, under the remap plan.
The new House map, which was approved by wide margins in both chambers, makes minor changes to the Volunteer State's other eight House districts. By packing Democrats into the 4th, however, the adjacent districts of GOP Reps. Zach Wamp and Ed Bryant were made notably more Republican.
Under the plan the 4th - a historically Democratic district that Hilleary nonetheless held with little trouble for eight years - lost GOP strongholds such as Claiborne, Granger and Hamblen counties, which shifted into the districts of GOP Reps. Wamp, Bill Jenkins and John Duncan. Removed from Wamp's district were overwhelmingly Democratic counties such as Marion, Grundy, Van Buren, Sequatchie and Bledsoe, which moved to the 4th.
Hilleary is retiring to run to succeed term-limited Gov. Don Sundquist (R).
The map is good news for Davis, whose fundraising strength recently forced his main primary rival, state Rep. Joe Fowlkes (D), to quit the race. Davis, who was deeply involved in shaping the district, currently represents the northern reaches of the new 4th, the most Republican part of the district. Davis has raised more than $200,000 and has been endorsed by Rep. Bob Clement (D-Tenn.).
"We're going to win this seat, and we're going to be part of changing the makeup of Washington," Davis said Friday. "We have a good chance of taking the majority - not control but the majority - in the House."
Although Davis' prospects look good under the remap, Gordon noted that other Democrats may now be interested in the new party stronghold. "The district is so good that some others may get in now," said Gordon, who so far has remained neutral in the primary.
Chattanooga Times Free Press
An anticipated battle over redistricting was averted Thursday afternoon when majority Democrats backed away from a proposed state House district map that crowded 14 Republicans into seven districts.
Instead, on a 92-4 vote and with an overwhelming display of bipartisan unity, the two parties embraced a new House map that Republicans said is much fairer and could avert a legal challenge.
"It was a win-win situation. It worked out well for both sides," said House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh, D-Covington.
The new district maps for the state House and Senate and for Tennessee's congressional delegation are required by law to be redrawn every 10 years to account for population changes. All three maps easily passed the state House and Senate on Thursday, but only after hours of closed-door haggling in the House.
"What happened today was good for both parties. It showed bipartisan cooperation," said House Minority Leader Steve McDaniel, R-Parkers Crossroads, who noted that 38 Republicans voted for the new map.
"With some of the issues we're facing, I hope this will set the tone for cooperation this session," he said.
The new House map puts four Republicans in two districts, but redraws district lines to separate 10 other Republicans who had been lumped into five districts. Republican Reps. Larry Scroggs and Curry Todd, both of Shelby County, remain in the same district, but Rep. Scroggs is not seeking re-election.
"What you've evidenced is an ability for Republicans and Democrats to work together for what is best for the state of Tennessee," said Rep. Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, who is also chairwoman of the Tennessee Republican Party.
Despite her praise of the bipartisan cooperation, Rep. Harwell did not vote for either the state House and Senate or congressional maps, because she said they all needlessly divided Davidson County.
"As a representative, I viewed them as harmful to my constituents," she said.
Gov. Don Sundquist praised the bipartisan cooperation and said, "I plan to sign it when it reaches my desk. This compromise sets a good tone to begin the session, and my hope is that spirit of cooperation will continue."
Democrats say the new House map protects their 57-42 majority and gives them a chance to pick up three newly created open seats in fast-growing Middle Tennessee during the November general election. Democratic Reps. Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley and Ronnie Cole of Dyersburg also were put in the same district, but Rep. Cole is not seeking re-election.
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Randy Rinks of Savannah said five of the eight open seats created under the Democrats' original House map were heavily Republican districts. He said it was pointless to alienate Republican incumbents needlessly by squeezing them into the same districts.
"At the end of the day, when the dust settles, it is still a Democrat plan," Rep. Rinks said. "We still maintain our majority, and we still feel we have the same opportunity to pick up the same number of seats we did when we started."
Speaker Naifeh noted that majority House Democrats had more than enough votes to pass their original House map, but Thursday's compromise map could ease the partisan strife that has plagued the state House since the tax reform issue surfaced three years ago.
"It's a lot easier for us to go forward than it would have been with a House that's divided," he said. "It showed today that the Democrats and Republicans can work together and come together on a common goal. I only hope we can continue to show this cooperative spirit when we get on the budget," he said.
The turn of events Thursday left some of the most ardent Republican partisans praising House Democratic leaders over a process that is often the most divisive issue lawmakers ever face.
"What you had today was historic. You had Republicans and Democrats coming together for Tennessee," said Rep. Mark Goins, R-LaFollette. He voted for the new House map, even though it puts him and fellow Republican Rep. William Baird of Jacksboro in the same district.
"I couldn't be a hypocrite and vote against it, even though I was injured in the process. If I talk the talk, I've got to walk the walk," said Rep. Goins, one of the most outspoken opponents of the original Democrat map.
"It was easy to criticize the Democratic leaders when they were very partisan, and I'll say today that even though I'm hurt, the Democratic leadership acted like statesmen," Rep. Goins said.
House Democrats, needing Republican help to balance a state budget in a charged election year, compromised yesterday on their blatantly partisan redistricting plan, canceling efforts to draw 10 Republican incumbents into five districts.
Under the plan approved by the House and Senate, two GOP House members from an East Tennessee district were placed into the same district, but both of them voted for the final redistricting map. The plan as adopted basically restores districts for Rep. Diane Black of Hendersonville and Mae Beavers of Mt. Juliet.
The House, which has 57 Democrats and 42 Republicans, overwhelmingly passed the plan 92-4, with most GOP members defying a controversial bylaw of the state Republican Party that vowed possible retaliation against any House Republican voting for a plan that pitted two Republicans against each other.
Leaders of both parties said adoption of the new plan should result in greater cooperation between members of both parties on budget and other major issues, such as the search for new revenue.
The House and Senate also passed and sent to Gov. Don Sundquist a state Senate redistricting plan and a U.S. congressional redistricting plan. Democrats hope the congressional plan will allow them to capture the 4th District seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Van Hilleary, who is running for governor.
House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh, D-Covington, said the original plan was dropped ''in the spirit of cooperation and bipartisanship.''
''We have so much more we have to deal with this year. � We want to do what we need to do for the state. Redistricting is a political matter, and we want to get on with what needs to be done.''
Leaders of both parties gathered at the front of the House chamber to present the redistricting legislation.
House Republican Minority Leader Steve McDaniel said the plan that was adopted treats many communities better by not splitting them.
''I think the plan before us today is a better plan than it was 24 hours ago.''
Rep. Beth Halteman Harwell of Nashville, chairwoman of the state Republican Party, was not pleased with the way her district was drawn, but said the new plan was much fairer than the one originally offered. She voted against the plan but said there would be no penalty from the state party for Republicans who voted for the new bill.
The two Republicans left in the same district are Rep. Mark Goins of LaFollette and William Baird of nearby Jacksboro. Both voted for the plan and said they hadn't decided whether to seek re-election.
Goins praised the new plan, saying the people of Tennessee were the winners. ''Speaker Naifeh and the remainder of the Democratic leadership acted like statesmen today.''
Sundquist said he planned to sign the bills. ''This compromise sets a good tone to begin this session, and my hope is that spirit of cooperation continues.''
Black, who would have faced fellow incumbent Beavers under the old plan, praised the compromise. ''There was a good feeling today,'' she said. She said no behind-the-scene deals were made, nor was she asked to support a particular budget or tax in return.
Rep. Randy Rinks, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said he hoped the action would set a ''better tone'' for the session.
''There is no compromise on our part from the standpoint of maintaining our majority.''
Rinks said Republican lines were shifted for the most part and Democratic lines were not.
''There are three or four seats that we created that we think we have a good shot at,'' Rinks said, adding that Democrats had no chance of winning in any of the original six districts that paired the 12 Republicans.
In the Senate, internal Democratic squabbling about three Midstate districts postponed a scheduled 8 a.m. vote on Senate re- districting for nearly three hours.
The fight was over two heavily Republican voting precincts in Hendersonville � Rock Castle and Indian Lake � and a third precinct, Lakeside. Sen. Bob Rochelle, D-Lebanon, was given the 12,000 voters in those precincts and complained that parts of Sumner County had been put into two districts. Most of the county remained with Sen. Jo Ann Graves, D-Gallatin.
Before entering politics, Rochelle, an attorney, had handled successful lawsuits opposing the division of counties in redistricting plans.
As a compromise, Graves took back the Indian Lake and Lakeside precincts, and Rochelle kept about 4,000 voters in Rock Castle. In her last election, Graves lost Indian Lake and Rock Castle to a Republican challenger.
Graves downplayed criticisms that she tried to dump those precincts into Rochelle's district because potential GOP rivals lived there, saying those rivals had indicated they were not interested in opposing her in the next election.
''Everybody needed to be reassured they were being treated with equal dignity, that one senator would not prosper at another senator's demise,'' said Graves, who headed up the redistricting process for the Senate.
Also, Rochelle and Sen. Charlotte Burks, D-Monterey, swapped Pickett County with DeKalb County to smooth out population totals in each district. Burks, who won the seat after her husband was murdered while running for re-election, said she was disappointed to lose DeKalb.
''I'm not real happy,'' said Burks, adding that the district had for a long time included Upper Cumberland counties DeKalb and Clay, which she will no longer represent.
The Senate approved the U.S. congressional plan in a 24-6 vote. Six Republicans voted no.
''I don't like to see counties split,'' said Sen. Micheal Williams, R-Maynardville, who represents Jefferson County, which is split between the 1st and 3rd Congressional Districts.
Declaring a new era of bipartisan cooperation, Tennessee's Democrat-controlled House redrew its district maps to restore the districts of Republican incumbents, passing a reapportionment plan that lawmakers hope will avoid a court challenge.
The Senate's remap was also delayed for hours as lawmakers redrew a district more suitable to Senate Speaker Pro Tem Robert Rochelle (D-Lebanon), the chief proponent of state tax reform.
Both legislative redistricting plans - crafted to create winnable districts for both Democratic and Republican incumbents - passed with only token opposition Thursday, as did the congressional remap plan.
State lawmakers must re-draw boundaries for the state's 33 Senate districts, 99 House districts and its nine congressional districts every decade to make sure each is roughly equal in population according to the most recent census. The cutthroat process shapes the state's political landscape for the next decade.
The Democrats' original House plan had paired 14 Republican incumbents into seven districts, forcing one member of each pair to either move into a nearby "open" seat, challenge the other member, or retire. Such tactics are the rule in partisan redistricting plans, and predictably the losing party screams loudly about the unfairness of it all - as House Republicans did this week.
But on Thursday morning, Democratic leaders did a turnaround in negotiations with House Republicans, allowing them to tweak the lines so that in the final remap, only two Republicans ended up being paired: Reps. Mark Goins of LaFollette and William Baird of Jacksboro, who live so close to each other in rural Campbell County they share the same telephone exchange.
With the agreement, the threat of a Republican court challenge to the plan apparently evaporated and Gov. Don Sundquist said he planned to sign the redistricting plans into law. If there is no court challenge, the new district lines will be in effect for this year's legislative and congressional elections.
"In the end, we felt there was nothing really to be gained by putting them together - this plan will have the same number of Democratic seats added. There are three or four new ones where we feel we have a shot," said Rep. Randy Rinks (D-Savannah), Democratic Caucus chairman. "This will help us avoid a lawsuit and maybe set a better tone for the rest of the session."
Political observers were left to wonder why, given the chance to "stick it" to the Republicans, Democratic leaders backed off.
"This is a new era in bipartisan cooperation," said Rep. Steve McDaniel (R-Parkers Crossroads), the House Republican leader, who stood with the Democratic leaders in the well of the House as the plan was put up for a vote. "For me to be standing in this well at this time is probably a surprise to many of you. It is to me." McDaniel thanked House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh (D-Covington) and other Democratic leaders publicly.
The House passed its own plan by a vote of 92-4, with two abstentions; passed the Senate plan 94-3; and approved the congressional plan 91-7.
GOP Chairman and state Rep. Beth Harwell of Nashville voted against all three plans, chiefly because of how each divided portions of Davidson County to make districts more Republican or Democratic. But even Harwell praised House Democratic leaders for accommodating Republicans.
Harwell said a controversial bylaw change by the state Republican Party - one promising that the party would recruit and fund primary challengers for Republicans who voted on a GOP-unfriendly remap - may have helped spur the new cooperation.
Members of both parties insisted there were no trade-offs on other issues such as taxes, and said other issues weren't even discussed.
"It's easier to move forward with a House that is together than a House that is divided," said Naifeh. "We have so many more issues before us that we need to deal with a House that is not divided."
All three plans won Senate approval with no debate and little controversy, largely because all 33 incumbent senators of both parties are protected by the Senate remap, including Shelby County's six senators.
Chattanooga Times Free Press
Intraparty bickering over today's expected vote on redistricting threatens to split House Republicans and could put some GOP lawmakers at odds with Republican Gov. Don Sundquist.
The new district maps for the Tennessee House and Senate and the state's Congressional delegation -- required by law to be redrawn every 10 years -- are expected to be voted on this morning in the House and Senate. The three maps are expected to pass in both chambers, where Democrats enjoy a majority.
However, House GOP loyalists warned Wednesday that colleagues who support the Democrat's new state House map, which puts 14 Republican lawmakers into seven districts, could lose House Republican Caucus campaign funds.
"It's fair to withhold money from people who do that," said Rep. Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, who is state chairwoman of the Tennessee Republican Party. "I couldn't look my colleagues in the eye, who have lost their seat, and then turn around and vote for a plan that does that to them."
In addition, the Tennessee Republican Party, which normally stays out of party primary elections, amended its bylaws last month to say that "a member of the General Assembly" who votes for "any redistricting plan opposed by the Tennessee Republican Party" may face opposition in the August Republican primary.
"The party is taking this very seriously,'' said Rep. Bobby Wood, R-Harrison, one of 14 Republicans who was doubled-up in a district. "This is the first time I can remember a reaction that was this strong."
Reps. Wood and Jim Vincent, R-Soddy-Daisy, were drawn together in the new House District 26, while Rep. Vincent's District 31 now is an open seat.
However, some of the handful of GOP lawmakers who are undecided about how they'll vote today said they resent bullying from their own party.
"I don't need their funding, but I don't like the threat. That's not the American way," said Rep. Raymond Walker, R-Crossville. "I'm elected by the people back home, not the caucus or the executive committee."
Rep. Chris Newton, R-Cleveland, said he may support the Democratic map because his House District 22 is left largely intact, while a Republican alternative map puts part of his constituency in Hamilton County.
"I empathize with my colleagues who have been put together," he said. "This is an ugly process. You have friends who are going to get hurt, but I have to remember my district first. That is just the bottom line."
Gov. Sundquist, the titular head of the Tennessee Republican Party, said he's not happy with the Democratic House map, but he balked at his executive committee's ultimatum.
"Redistricting should be about the representation of Tennessee citizens, not about political parties or individual legislators," the governor said in a prepared statement. "At the same time, each legislator should be free to make his or her own decision on how to vote on the issue. They should not be threatened to vote any certain way."
Alexia Levison, the governor's press secretary, said the governor has not yet decided if he will veto the new House map, should it pass. Some lawmakers have said the governor cannot afford the veto, certain to be overridden by Democrats, this early in the session for fear of alienating Democrats, whose support he needs to pass a state income tax or some kind of revenue hike.
"The governor wants to have the bill in front of him before he makes that decision," Ms. Levison said.
Democrats enjoy a 57-42 majority in the House and have enough votes to pass the new maps on a straight party-line vote. However, they want some Republicans to vote for the Democratic plan in the likely event the Tennessee Republican Party challenges the new map in court, House Republicans said.
"They want it to be able to claim that it's bipartisan," said Rep. Chris Clem, R-Lookout Mountain.
Instead of voting for the Democrats' map, House Republicans will attempt to revive their own House map that was tabled in committee Tuesday. The Republican House map combines eight lawmakers, Republicans and Democrats, into four districts. However, Republican leaders concede the GOP plan is merely symbolic, because majority Democrats will table any attempt to amend their new map on the House floor.
House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh, D-Covington, chided the Republican attempt to corral votes against the Democratic map.
"It's a threat, and I don't think they should have done it," he said. "That goes against what we thought were the principles of the Republican Party, and that is to let everybody be an individual and cast their own vote. That's how we go about it in the Democratic Caucus."
In the Senate, on the eve of the redistricting vote, most Republicans were unaware of the GOP Executive Committee bylaw. Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Clabough, R-Maryville, learned of the bylaw on Wednesday from a newspaper reporter. He said it would not affect the Senate vote, because traditionally the Senate votes for the House map, and the House votes for the Senate map, as a matter of courtesy.
Rep. Harwell said Senate Republicans were free to vote for the House Democratic map without fear of repercussions from the state party.
Senate Republicans said redistricting is not as partisan in the Senate as it is in the House because Senate Democrats enjoy only an 18-15 majority and often need Republican support to pass legislation.
Sen. Clabough, a former House Republican, said he was "disappointed" with the new Democratic House map, but said he did not anticipate much resistance to any of the new district maps the Senate will consider today.
The Tennessee Republican Party has vowed possible retaliation against any GOP member of the state House who supports a House redistricting plan � drawn up by Democrats � in a vote this morning.
One veteran Republican member of the House yesterday accused party leaders of meddling in lawmakers' affairs and said he plans to buck the party. Meanwhile, Gov. Don Sundquist, the titular head of the party, criticized party leaders for making the threat.
The complaint is that the Democrats' plan puts 12 Republican incumbents in six districts, leaving at least six of them out of a job and adding to Democrats' 57-42 majority in the House.
Matt King, executive director of the Tennessee Republican Party, said such blatant partisanship doesn't deserve a single Republican vote.
Rep. Ralph Cole, R-Elizabethton, said he plans to support the Democrats' plan because it treats his constituents fairly.
The Republican Party executive committee approved a bylaw Dec. 1 saying legislators who support the Democratic plan would not get Republican Party support in their next election and face the possibility of the party's supporting a challenger against them in the August primary.
Sundquist, who as governor heads the state Republican Party, appeared to disagree with his party's position.
''Each legislator should be free to make his or her own decision on how to vote on the issue. They should not be threatened to vote any certain way,'' Sundquist said in a written statement.
King said the bylaw is not a threat. ''Every member is free to vote however he or she chooses. However, voters will hold legislators responsible.''
During redistricting 10 years ago, 14 Republican House members voted for the Democratic plan, according to party officials.
By doing so, they gave Democrats political cover to say their plan had passed with bipartisan support, King said.
The state Senate and House are scheduled to vote on new district lines for both state houses and nine U.S. congressional districts at floor sessions today. The Senate is scheduled to meet at 8 a.m., the House at 9 a.m.
The party does not plan to retaliate against Senate members who vote for the House plan, King said. The Senate's plan to redraw its districts does not place Republican incumbents in the same district, except in the case of Sen. Gene Elsea, R-Spring City, who is retiring.
The bylaw, which was read to Republican House members during a caucus meeting on Monday, drew mixed reactions.
''Obviously, there's merit to (the bylaw), but, by the same token, some folks have taken exception to it,'' said Rep. Jim Boyer, R-Corryton, caucus chairman of the House Republicans. Boyer is among those paired into a district with another member.
Some Republicans believe it is unfair for the party to solicit opponents in primaries if they don't do what the party wants, since the party's policy normally is not to get involved in primaries, Boyer said.
Cole, who represents Carter County in East Tennessee, said he has good reason to support the Democratic plan.
When he was first elected to the legislature in 1989, Carter County was divided among two districts, he said. During redistricting 10 years ago, he voted for the Democratic plan because it consolidated Carter County into one district, as his constituents wanted.
''The people I represent feel the same way about that matter now. � I will not vote against a plan that gives me what the people I represent want. I feel this is something the state party should not be involved in for each legislator has to represent his own people.''
Rep. Paul Stanley, R-Germantown, who is also a member of the GOP executive committee, said it would be wrong for a Republican to vote for a plan that harms colleagues.
''The purpose of the Republican state executive committee is to elect Republicans to office,'' said Stanley, adding that any House member who weakens the abil- ity of Republicans to remain in office creates problems for the party.
Stanley also was paired with another Republican in a district.
Republicans yesterday boasted that their version of reapportionment of state House districts offered more reasonable representation than the Democrats' plan, but it was a futile gesture.
A reapportionment plan designed to increase Democratic control of the House passed its initial committee hurdle and is expected to receive final legislative approval by the full House and Senate tomorrow.
There were a few sharp words.
''This bill should be called the Democrat Leadership Gerrymander Scandal of 2002, because what it does is it takes people who opposed an income tax and was vocal about it and places them in the same district,'' said Rep. Mark Goins, R-Lafollette, who will find himself in a district with William Baird, R-Jacksboro.
Republicans trotted out their own House redistricting plan yesterday afternoon, only to have it shot down two hours later in the House State and Local Government Committee. It, like all other House committees, is controlled by Democrats.
The Democrats' plan, which would effectively move 12 Republicans into six House districts, was approved in the committee by a vote of 14-10.
The plan shifts three new seats to the Midstate, two from West Tennessee and one from East Tennessee.
Democrats hold 57 of the 99 House seats, while the Republicans hold 42.
The plan was presented to the committee by Democratic Majority Leader Eugene Davidson, D-Adams, who said it complies with the state and federal constitutions, the ''one person one vote'' requirement, and the Voting Rights Act.
''The plan neither dilutes minority voting strength nor packs minority voters into districts,'' Davidson said. ''The plan keeps the same number of majority and minority districts.''
Republicans took issue with the plan, saying it is blatant gerrymandering. One example offered was the district of Rep. Rob Briley, which would stretch from east Nashville across the Cumberland River and into Green Hills.
''The plan we are presenting will not require you to take a riverboat ride to get from one part of your district to another,'' said Rep. Jim Boyer, R-Corryton, chairman of the House Republican Caucus.
At a news conference before the vote, Republican Minority Leader Steve McDaniel of Parkers Crossroads was asked why Republicans were even offering a plan since it has no chance of passing.
''I think it is important for the people of this state to understand that a partisan gerrymandered plan is not necessary,'' McDaniel said. ''A plan that is fair to all the voters in Tennessee can be drawn.''
Rep. Beth Halteman Harwell of Nashville, chairwoman of the state Republican Party, said the Republican plan will be put on display in the downtown public library and on the party's Web site, www.tngop.org for the public to see.
''We want to make this as open as possible to the public.''
A congressional redistricting plan, which makes U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon's district more Democratic and increases the Democrats' chances of gaining a congressional seat in the nine-man delegation, sailed through state House and Senate committees yesterday.
The plan, which also reshaped U.S. Rep. Bob Clement's Nashville-dominated district and brought complaints from at least one sitting Republican congressman, will probably receive final legislative approval tomorrow.
''As in any other plan we looked at, there is probably not total agreement, but they (nine incumbents in the Tennessee delegation) all agree it is a plan they can live with,'' Rep. Randy Rinks, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, told members of the House State and Local Government Committee.
Gordon's district is made more Democrat-friendly by removing Williamson County, which has become a Republican stronghold. Most of Williamson will go to Republican U.S. Rep. Ed Bryant in the 7th District.
''The 6th District was the fastest-growing district in Tennessee,'' Gordon spokesman Kent Syler said. ''The legislature had the mission of cutting 100,000 people out of the 6th to bring them into balance.''
Republican U.S. Rep. Van Hilleary's decision to run for governor instead of seeking re-election has opened up Hilleary's 4th District seat.
State Rep. Joe Fowlkes, a Democrat and Pulaski lawyer, had considered running for Congress in the 4th but said yesterday he has decided against it.
''We have been raising money for the last six months or so, and I just don't think we have raised enough money to be able to compete.''
State Sen. Lincoln Davis, D-Pall Mall, is campaigning hard for the 4th District congressional seat and said he thinks he can win it.
Davis said he likes the plan for the new 4th District because it is more compact than the old.
''We have taken the head and tail both off the district and made it shorter,'' Davis said. ''About a third of the district is in my old Senate district, so I feel very comfortable about my chances to win.''
If the new district lines had been in effect at the time, Democrats would have carried the district in the past two presidential elections.
Analysts say the district is still no slam-dunk for the Democrats, but a Democrat will have the edge.
U.S. Rep. Bob Clement of Nashville, whose 5th District now includes Davidson and a part of Robertson County, will represent all but a small sliver of Davidson, a portion of eastern Cheatham County and a portion of western Wilson County.
The small sliver of Davidson, along the county's southern border, will be placed in Bryant's district.
State Republican Party Chairwoman Beth Halteman Harwell, a member of the House, was critical of the congressional and legislative redistricting plans. ''It looks again like political gerrymandering is taking place. Davidson County doesn't belong in Ed Bryant's district,'' she said.
''When you think about this whole redistricting issue, this state now elects two Republican U.S. senators, a (5-4) majority of the congressional delegation and carried the state for George W. Bush against a Tennessean (Al Gore). That indicates clearly to me that this state is going Republican. It is Republican.
''Why can't we pick up seats in the Tennessee General Assembly? The answer is easy. It is because of political gerrymandering.''
State Democrats, who control the Tennessee legislature and the redistricting process, took six Democratic-leaning precincts out of Zach Wamp's 3rd District territory and placed them in the 4th District.
''It is important to see a Democratic majority in the U.S. House, and one step toward that is recapturing the 4th Congressional District in Tennessee,'' Syler said.
Gordon, as the longest-serving member of the delegation, helped legislators with the redistricting effort.
Bryant didn't seem to mind getting Republican-leaning Williamson County.
''That's politics, and everybody knows it happens. Republicans do it in Republican-controlled states.''
One of Bryant's biggest concerns appeared to be over the loss of Maury County, home to the annual Mule Day celebration.
''I'm going to miss Mule Day,'' he said wistfully. ''I might still get invited. I don't know.''
Eager to put the rancorous, cutthroat redistricting process behind them, Tennessee House and Senate committees on Tuesday passed all the plans for redrawing state and congressional districts with the goal of floor passage on Thursday.
Acting on the first day of this year's legislative session, lawmakers unveiled and got committee approval of controversial Senate and congressional remaps that will shape the state's political life for the next decade.
The House plan, drawn by the Democratic majority, pairs Republican incumbents against each other in seven districts, drawing the ire of the House Republican Caucus and new promises from the state GOP to punish any Republican lawmaker who votes for it.
House Republican Leader Steve McDaniel (R-Parkers Crossroads) said the House plan unnecessarily hurts Republicans: "A gerrymandered plan is not necessary, and their plan is blatant partisan gerrymandering."
The Senate's new map, drawn by a bipartisan committee, preserves all of the Republican incumbents but endangers two Senate seats now held by Democrats. It also creates an open seat that is considered a tossup.
The Senate has a nominal Democratic majority, with 18 Democrats and 15 Republicans.
"It's all a process of self-preservation - they want to take care of themselves," said Sen. JoAnn Graves (D-Gallatin), chairman of the Senate redistricting panel. "But most people's core districts remained intact, no incumbents were paired against each other, and it meets all the federal guidelines."
Both plans reflect the dramatic population growth in the suburban counties around Nashville.
The Senate plan, as expected, preserves Shelby County's six incumbent senators, even though the state's census numbers would indicate Shelby County's population supports five Senate seats.
To accommodate the sixth seat, freshman Republican Mark Norris's district keeps part of eastern Shelby County, retains Tipton and Lauderdale counties and adds Dyer County.
In one last-minute change to the House plan, Shelby County Democrats redrew the lines to shift Rep. Tre Hargett (R-Bartlett) into District 96, represented by Rep. Paul Stanley (R-Germantown).
When the plan was released last week, Hargett was paired with Rep. W.C. 'Bubba' Pleasant (R-Arlington). Asked to explain the last-minute change, Rep. Ulysses Jones (D-Memphis) said, "I've been knowing Bubba Pleasant for 29 years. We came to the fire department together."
Hargett and Stanley said they're exploring their options.
Jones also pointed out that the new Shelby County map "creates an area that is open to an African-American Republican. It allows them to put their money where their mouth is," said Jones.
The district, 94, is about 32 percent African-American and about 60 percent Republican.
A redistricting plan proposed Tuesday would move 29 East Shelby County precincts into Democrat Rep. Harold Ford Jr.'s district, and shift the district of Republican Rep. Ed Bryant toward the Nashville suburbs.
The proposal would also leave part of Democratic Rep. John Tanner's district in North Memphis and North Shelby County, meaning Shelby County would continue to be represented by three U.S. representatives.
The plan, drawn largely by Tennessee Democrats, was unveiled Tuesday as it began advancing through the state legislature, which hopes to have all new state legislative and congressional district maps approved by Feb. 1.
Legislative and congressional district boundaries must be redrawn every 10 years following the U.S. Census to ensure that districts are roughly equal in population.
Under the congressional redistricting proposal, Ford's Ninth District - which includes most of the City of Memphis - would expand by adding precincts in the southeast part of the county along the Mississippi border, plus six Cordova precincts and a handful of adjacent precincts.
Ford also is picking up four precincts from Tanner's Eighth District, but giving Tanner back one.
Ford said he doesn't regard it as a radical change.
"It's an opportunity to learn more about different perspectives and to try to bring the kind of representation I've offered to different parts of the county," Ford said in Washington.
In 1994, at an election-night victory party, Ford's father, Harold Ford, decried the East Memphis supporters of his Republican opponent, Rod DeBerry, as "devils" and threatened not to provide them any assistance. Ford Sr. apologized the next day and two years later he relinquished the Ninth District seat to his eldest son.
"People say things and apologize and move on," said the younger Ford Tuesday. "I can only hope that everybody has moved on. And we have a new congressman in the district now."
Ford said a lot of East Shelby residents already are familiar with him through the media, but that he plans to hold informal gatherings and dinners in the new part of the district to get to know his new constituents better.
According to Democratic calculations, Ford's new district will be about 60 percent African-American, compared to 66 percent in the old district. The new Ninth district has a 67 percent Democratic voting base.
The changes make the Seventh District, already a Republican stronghold, practically a fortress. It combines most of heavily Republican and affluent Williamson County, a Nashville suburb, with East Shelby County. But it also reduces Shelby's political influence in the Seventh with the subtraction of the 29 precincts going to Ford.
Under the new plan, about 30 percent of Bryant's district, or 189,153 residents, would reside in Shelby. Williamson County has 126,638 residents according to the 2000 Census, but a small portion would be assigned to the newly redrawn Fourth District under the plan.
"Shelby County is still the base (in the Seventh). Heretofore, I've been able to win the entire district by my Shelby vote itself," said Bryant, who is from Henderson.
But the real impact of the changes are likely to be seen in the 2006 congressional election, when the seat could become open. Bryant has said he would serve six terms, which would expire in 2006. There could be more of a tug-of-war between the Memphis and Nashville ends of the districts.
About 12 percent of Tanner's Eighth district, or 76,176 people, would reside in Shelby County. "I wanted to keep some of Shelby County," said Tanner. "Rural West Tennessee is an integral part of what happens in Memphis and what happens in Memphis has a strong influence on what happens in West Tennessee."
Here are the precincts being added to Ford's district from Bryant's:
Cordova-1, 2, 4, 5, 7 and 11; Ross-5, 10, 12 and 14, Forest Hill and Germantown-6; and 74-1, 74-6, 80-2, 81-3, 88-1, 88-3, 88-5, 89-1, 89-2, 89-3, 93-1, 93-2, 93-3, 94-1, 94-3, 94-5 and 94-7.
From Tanner's district, Ford is gaining
69-2, 70-2, 84-2, and 88-2. Tanner is gaining 90-1 from Ford.