published Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Tennessee GOP chairman taunts Democrats over Berke’s election plans

NASHVILLE — Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney is taunting state Democrats over the decision by state Sen. Andy Berke, D-Chattanooga, not to seek re-election.

Berke, who is weighing a race for Chattanooga mayor, is the fourth Senate Democrat to announce he will not run again.

Three House Democrats have already announced they will not run in the wake of recently approved Republican-drawn legislative redistricting maps.

Berke’s Senate District 10 was redrawn, making it more Republican with the addition of GOP-leaning areas in Hamilton County, such as East Ridge, and a good-sized portion of staunchly Republican Bradley County.

“Tennessee Democrats must be real fans of the rock band Queen, because their new theme song seems to have become ‘Another One Bites the Dust,’” Devaney said in a statement released today.

“Senator Berke must have realized that his liberal ideology will be rejected in his new district, but he will be quick to discover that his ideology will be rejected by Chattanooga voters if he decides to run for mayor,” Devaney said.

Recent Democratic retirements include Sen. Eric Stewart, D-Belvidere, who announced he was running for Congress prior to the passage of the GOP redistricting plans. Also announcing they would not run are Sens. Roy Herron, D-Dresden, and Joe Haynes, D-Nashville.

Democratic representatives who have announced they are not running include Rep. Bill Harmon, D-Dunlap, who has said he might run instead for the state Senate or mayor of Sequatchie County.

Other Democrats who so far have announced they are retiring are Rep. Janis Sontany, D-Nashville, and Rep. Harry Tindell, D-Knoxville.

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