Senate clears final redistricting map, Memphis and Knoxville House Democrats drawn together

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Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, brings the state Senate into a special session Wednesday. For only the third time in state history, the Tennessee General Assembly called itself into a special session, this time to deal with COVID-19 restrictions.
Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, brings the state Senate into a special session Wednesday. For only the third time in state history, the Tennessee General Assembly called itself into a special session, this time to deal with COVID-19 restrictions.

The Tennessee Republican redistricting plan cleared its final legislative hurdle on Wednesday as the state House map passed the Senate in a vote along party lines.

The Senate previously approved a Republican plan for state Senate and congressional maps, but delayed a vote on the final map as a courtesy to the House. The redistricting plans will now head to Gov. Bill Lee's desk.

Tennessee Democrats say they're preparing a legal challenge to the plans, which includes a congressional division of Davidson County that experts say will significantly alter the state's political landscape.

In the state House map, Republicans initially targeted multiple Democratic seats, drawing together incumbents in urban districts in the Nashville, Knoxville and Memphis areas.

A re-engineered map emerged earlier this month, unlinking Rep. John Ray Clemmons and Rep. Mike Stewart, both Nashville Democrats. Rep. Jason Potts, D-Nashville, is drawn into Stewarts' district but is not planning to seek reelection this year.

Tennessee redistricting: House Democrats blast redistricting proposal pairing state Democratic incumbents together

Davidson County split: Tennessee House Republicans approve redistricting plan to divide Davidson County into three congressional districts

Democratic Reps. Vincent Dixie and Bo Mitchell, previously drawn together in Nashville, no longer live in the same district under the redrawn map.

In Knoxville, Democratic Reps. Sam McKenzie and Gloria Johnson remain paired under the newly passed map, with Johnson drawn into District 15.

Rep. Torrey Harris, D-Memphis, was also drawn into Rep. London Lamar’s Memphis district with the elimination of District 90, a move Lamar, D-Memphis, decried on the House floor earlier this week.

“It sends a strong message when you combine the two youngest representatives into one district, diluting a successful pool of young leadership,” Lamar said.

Tennessee Rep. London Lamar, D-Memphis, greets with Rep. Torrey Harris, R-Harris, during the 112th General Assembly at Tennessee state Capitol in Nashville, Tenn., Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022.
Tennessee Rep. London Lamar, D-Memphis, greets with Rep. Torrey Harris, R-Harris, during the 112th General Assembly at Tennessee state Capitol in Nashville, Tenn., Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022.

Several Republican districts have been drawn together, but the majority include incumbents who are not seeking reelection.

Former House Speaker Glen Casada, R-Franklin, is paired with Rep. Sam Whitson, R-Franklin, in House District 65 that now covers west Williamson County. Rep. Bruce Griffey, R-Paris, is paired with Rep. Jay Reedy, R-Erin, in House District 74. Neither Casada nor Griffey are seeking reelection this year.

In House District 10, Reps. Jerry Sexton, R-Bean Station, and Rick Eldridge, R-Morristown, remain drawn together.

Reach Melissa Brown at mabrown@tennessean.com.

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This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Final Tennessee Republican redistricting map clears Senate

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