published Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Tennessee Democrats call for GOP to change redistricting plan or will contest it in court

NASHVILLE — State House Democrats are demanding majority Republicans change a legislative redistricting plan or Democrats will march into court to contest the map when its enacted.

“We’re headed to court, no doubt about it — unless something happens and the Republicans want to sit down and talk,” Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner of Nashville told reporters today.

Republicans’ plan, released Wednesday, squeezes eight Democratic incumbents into four seats, forcing them to run against each other. That includes two black lawmakers from Hamilton County — Reps. Tommie Brown, D-Chattanooga, and JoAnne Favors, D-Chattanooga.

In two other cases, incumbent Democrats will wind up running against incumbent Republicans in districts that lean Republican.

Turner said Democrats, having finally seen the GOP plan, are developing their own redistricting map.

“You will see they [Brown and Favors] will not be together” under the Democratic proposal, Turner said. “JoAnne will be in a Democratic district” as would Brown.

Republicans have said their plan is “fair and legal.” Turner noted, “I got [GOP Caucus Chair Debra] Maggart on Fox News last night saying — ‘Oh this is really fair’ — [Expletive deleted]. They [Republicans] are trying to go to a one-party state.”

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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