The Republican-led committee in charge of new district maps for the state House of Representatives on Tuesday gave their Democratic counterparts a preview of the maps that will be discussed today.
The House Democratic Caucus held a meeting to go over the changes, and Tom Humphrey reports on the meeting:
In four of the new House districts, eight incumbent Democrats will be facing one another if they seek re-election.
They include Reps. [Tommie] Brown and JoAnne Favors of Chattanooga and Reps. Mike Stewart and Sherry Jones of Nashville. The other two districts are in Shelby County and pair Reps. Antonio Parkinson and [Jeanne] Richardson in one while Reps. Barbara Cooper and G.A. Hardaway are paired in another.
In one new district, incumbent Republican Jim Cobb of Spring City is paired with Democratic Rep. Bill Harmon of Dunlap.
Five new no-incumbent districts are created, all apparently intended to lean Republican. One is in northwest Knox County, including the Hardin Valley and Karnes area. The others are in Davidson County, Hamilton County, Rutherford County and Williamson County.
The Hamilton County Democratic Party meanwhile issued a statement that accuses Republicans of gerrymandering the state to create one-party rule, and going against the checks and balances intended by the nation’s Founding Fathers. (If only I could think of an example where another party has done something similar, I could demonstrate that this isn’t the first time this has happened. Even better would be an example where a party did so for multiple consecutive generations. Oh, well. It’s wrong no matter which party does it, and that’s the point here.)
The HCDP press release follows:
“The Republican agenda is clear. They intend to gerrymander our democracy into a one-party system in which no one who disagrees with the Republican elite has a voice,” said Hamilton County Democratic Chairman Paul Smith.
“This is not just a national or a state issue,” he continued. “Right here in Hamilton County and Chattanooga, we will be drastically affected by the tactics of Republicans in the Nashville statehouse. They’ve stated their goal—make it impossible for Democratic, or for that matter, independent views to be heard. They even attempt to stifle dissent within their own party. And in our own county, the Republican-dominated country commission seeks to maintain its iron grip on the nonpartisan school board in violation of the state constitution. We believe this is wrong and will be putting forth tremendous effort to ensure that those who hold opposing views can still participate in our democracy.”
The Founding Fathers went to great lengths to construct a system of checks and balances, incorporated into the Constitution, designed to prevent the tyranny of the majority over a minority, he noted. “The Democratic Party stands firm in support of the intent of the Constitution, and we will be sending that message to all of Hamilton County throughout 2012 and beyond.”