State Rep. Harry Tindell said today he will end his 22-year career in the state House rather than seek reelection to a seat that will require an intense, vigorous campaign after redistricting.
“It’s going to take a lot of work and long hours for campaigning, the fundraising,” said Democrat Tindell, 51. “I’m not sure I’m going to have the ability to do it all with all the commitments I’ve already made.’
The House District 13 seat that Tindell now holds was transformed by a Republican-drafted redistricting bill approved last week into what he described as ‘a coin-toss district.”
“I think it’s going to be the most competitive district in the state,” he said “I think people want two choices. I think all districts in the state should be this way.”
He predicted that multiple candidates will seek both the Republican and Democratic nominations to the seat in the August primary, though declining to name any of them. He predicted the winner in November will be decided by less than 300 votes.
Tindell said the district retains about 80 percent of the people who were within the boundaries of the previous District 13. The 20 percent of people new to the district are in the predominantly Republican Sequoyah Hills, Bonny Kate and Mt. Olive districts, he said.
“Twenty-two years is longer than I ever thought I’d be here. I’ve always sort of admired the people who left when they were at the top of their game.”
Until Republicans took firm control of the House in the 2010 elections, Tindell served as chairman of the powerful House Budget Subcommittee that acts as gatekeeper on all bills impacting state taxes and spending. He retained a seat on the powerful panel, though not the chair, when Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell made appointments for the 107th General Assembly that began in January, 2011.
Tindell said the commitments he has already made are to his insurance agency and Corporate Services and Events, another business he operates, as well as new endeavors yet to be announced.
He said he never expects to seek elective office again, but will retain an interest in government and politics. Tindell said does not intend to become involved in the primary election for his successor and involvement afterwards would depend on the circumstances.
“I hope it’s not somebody who’s extreme on either side,” he said. “I think you need someone who can work with people, not just demagogue.”
Asked if he would consider becoming a lobbyist, Tindell noted that state law would prohibit him from lobbying for a year after his term ends in November so “I’m 22 months away from even considering that.”
“I have friends on both sides of the aisle,” he said. “I wouldn’t object to looking at something at the appropriate time.”
Tindell said the revised district, contrary to some reports he has heard, did not lose any precincts tending toward Democrats to the neighboring district held by Rep. Joe Armstrong.
U.S. Census figures show the new district has a population of 62,200 that is 81.5 percent white, 11.2 percent black and 5.25 percent Hispanic.
Here are the precincts that make up House District 13 as realigned:
Precinct 11 Central United Methodist Church, Precinct 16N North Knox Recreation Center, Precinct 16S Belle Morris, Precinct 17 Christenberry, 18 Lincoln Park, 19 S.O.A.R. Youth Ministries, 23N Bible Church of God, 23S Westview, 24N Pellissippi State Tech, 24Q Sequoyah Hills, 33 Richard Yoakley, 37 Inskip Elementary, 38 Inskip Elementary, 48 Pond Gap, 49 Bearden Elementary, 50N West High, 50S West High, 89 Mt. Olive, 90 Bonny Kate.