Knox County grew enough since the last census to warrant another House district, negating the need to have part of the county in a House district with Jefferson County. State Rep. Frank Niceley thus gave up his constituents in Bearden, Sequoyah Hills, and South Knox County. His district got a chunk of Sevier County instead. But in the meantime, state Sen. Mike Faulk announced he would not seek re-election to his senate district. It includes three contiguous counties to Knox—Jefferson, Grainger, and Union counties—and continues northeast to include Claiborne, Hancock, and Hawkins counties.
Niceley did a poll of the senate district that shows he has high name recognition and high favorability ratings and is well positioned to win. So he is going for the senate seat he narrowly lost once before. He won a bitter Republican primary and his opponent worked against him in the general, as did Gov. Ned McWherter, determined to win the seat for the Democrats. The Democrats also had Bill Clinton and Al Gore on the ballot and Niceley lost by 700 votes.