Apr 8, 2022 - Politics

Battle over state Senate redistricting map brewing

Illustration of the Tennessee State Capitol building with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Republican leadership in the General Assembly wants to appeal a court order blocking the redistricting map for the state Senate.

Driving the news: Lt. Gov. Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) told reporters Thursday he hopes the Tennessee Supreme Court will "reach down and take it and deal with it quickly."

Why it matters: The dispute, which focuses on the numbering of neighboring Davidson County Senate districts, could dictate when certain seats are up for reelection. Elections for even and odd districts take place in different years.

  • The order was issued in a lawsuit that argued the current map violated the state constitution because districts within the same county were not numbered consecutively.

What they're saying: McNally said leadership was aware the Nashville districts weren't numbered consecutively but was advised by the state attorney general's office that they "would withstand constitutional challenge."

  • McNally said Democrats hadn't always numbered districts within the same county consecutively when they controlled the process in the past.

State of play: Lawmakers are prepared to redraw the Senate map if appeals fail, McNally said.

  • "We could. It might not be as good as the one we submitted."

The latest: The Tennessee attorney general's office requested an appeal Thursday afternoon.

  • "We believe the plan is constitutionally defensible, and our position is detailed in court filings," spokesperson Samantha Fisher tells Axios.

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