Through Democratic and Republican administrations, Knoxville has been able to rely on Democratic House members Rep. Joe Armstrong and Rep. Harry Tindell to bring home the bacon and to deliver badly needed local legislation. Armstrong is the powerful chair of Health and Human Resources and Tindell is an acknowledged expert on budgeting with his service on the House Finance Ways and Means Committee. They had these posts under the Democrats and have retained them under House Speaker Kent Williams who used Democratic votes to get elected and has retained some Democrats in key posts.
But if polls and pundits are correct and Republicans retain control of the state House and Senate during reapportionment next year, what will happen to the only two Democrats in the Knox delegation?
Armstrong and Tindell could easily be put in the same House district, thus eliminating one of them from office. Both are well regarded by the Republican members of the Knox delegation. Will they go to bat for their colleagues? Or bow to pressure from the House Republican caucus to eliminate Democratic seats? After one census the Democrats put 12 Republicans in six House districts, eliminating six Republicans from office. So will the Republicans be looking for payback?
And will presumed former Knoxville mayor Gov. Bill Haslam intervene on their behalf?