Reading the Knoxville Redistricting Tea Leaves

It is mathematically possible for Knox County to have seven state House seats, the districts all contained within county boundaries. The Knox delegation now has seven seats, six House districts in the county and one district split between Knox and Jefferson counties.

Should the final redistricting plan, being prepared by a committee in Nashville, create seven new districts, it would likely mean a new House seat for Knox County. The split seat was created last time to weaken future state Sen. Jamie Woodson by making her run in Jefferson County. But Woodson won easily, went on to the Senate, and the seat is now held by state Rep. Frank Niceley. The district includes South Knox County, Sequoyah Hills and Rocky Hill.

Nothing is firm, the huge statewide jigsaw of House districts is still being assembled, and each district’s lines affect the next from Mountain City to Memphis. There is also the question of how the Republicans will draw the districts of Democratic state Reps Joe Armstrong and Harry Tindell, who have districts under the ideal population number. Tindell could get more Republicans into his district. But the situation is very fluid at this point.

Should South Knox County become part of a new district, former County Commissioner Victoria DeFreese is being encouraged to wait and run for that spot and get out of the current 6th District state Senate race because any votes she gets in her area are likely to come from candidate Becky Duncan Massey. City Councilwoman Marilyn Roddy, Massey’s other opponent in the state senate race, has angered some people South because of her vote to use the old Flenniken School as housing for the homeless.

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