TN Republicans propose new district lines - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

TN Republicans propose new district lines

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)-- There are plans that have some politicians and their supporters scrambling across the volunteer state.

It's been a decade of change in Tennessee, as it is every 10 years.

There's a new party in charge, lines are being redrawn and political futures are being formed and threatened.

The party in control redraws the lines, leaving the minority party to object.  

That's what's been going on in Nashville.  

Middle Tennessee has grown. Local population has shifted. And, for the first time, Republicans are in charge of the map.  

"We spent about six months working on this process," 11th District Representative, Bo Watson says. "I will tell you it's extremely complex, it's extremely difficult and you don't make a lot of friends in the process."

That's because the changes can effectively end some political careers.

Locally, under the new plan, a large portion of the 28th District represented by Joanne Favors would be combined with Representative Tommie Brown's 29th.  Both have said they will let constituents decide who should run.

There's also a big change in Senator Andy Berke's 10th District.

"It divides Hamilton County a different way than it has been in the past and it also divides Bradley County, which previously has not been split up," says Senator Berke.

He would lose democratic-leaning Marion County and in its place, half of the more Republican voting Bradley County. 

Though popular, the "D" after Senator Berke's name could put his re-election in peril come November.

"I am in favor of non-partisan, independent redistricting," Berke says. "That's not what we have."

The Republicans argue their process has been as transparent as possible.

"This is our map," Watson says. "We have gone to great lengths to draw it as fair and legal as we possibly can."

Next, Republicans will release their plans to redraw congressional districts. 

Big changes may be coming to District 5 in Nashville. Only time will tell what that does to local district lines.

The redistricting measures will be taken up soon after the legislature convenes January 12.

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