A Tennessee House panel last Friday advanced a new map of the state representative districts despite objections from some lawmakers concerned that the proposal places several Democratic incumbents into the same districts.
If enacted, Democratic lawmakers in Knox, Davidson and Shelby counties would be forced to run against fellow Democratic incumbents in 2022. Two Republicans would face off in the same district covering Grainger and Hamblen counties.
The plan would also move Trousdale County out of District 40, which is currently represented by Terri Lynn Weaver (R-Lancaster). Trousdale would move into a new-look District 35 along with about a third of Sumner County, including Gallatin. The new District 40 would be comprised of Cannon, DeKalb, Jackson and Smith counties, along with a small sliver of northeastern Wilson County.
The plan would also result in losing one House seat in Shelby County, the state’s most populous region. That would mean Democratic Rep. Torrey Harris’ district would be absorbed by Democratic Rep. London Lamar’s district. Officials say the elimination was needed to accommodate the massive growth that occurred over the past 10 years in Middle Tennessee around the Nashville area.
Lawmakers are currently using the latest U.S. Census Bureau data to redraw state and congressional districts.
The proposals will be taken up in the 2022 legislative session that begins in January. Republican Gov. Bill Lee has veto power over the finalized plan, but he’s not expected to put up many objections.
According to U.S. Census Bureau data, Tennessee grew by 8.9% and increased to 6.9 million residents in 2020 compared with 6.3 million reported in 2010.
Contributing: Hartsville Vidette