TN Journal Sees 9 ‘Toss-up’ Races for State House, 3 in Senate

The Tennessee Journal has put out its first list rating 2012 Republican-versus-Democratic races for the state House and Senate and, no surprise, it looks grim for Democrats.
In the Senate, there are 11 incumbent Republicans who aren’t up for reelection this year and six of those who are up have no Democratic opponent. Ergo, the GOP is already assured of holding the 17 seats needed for a majority for the 108th General Assembly, which will convene in January. The question is whether they can go from the current 20 Republican seats to 22, which would be the two-thirds majority needed to make Democrats pretty much irrelevant.
The subscription-only Journal has three Senate seats rated as partisan toss-up contests – District 20, now held by Democratic Sen. Joe Haynes of Nashville; District 24, now held by Democratic Sen. Roy Herron of Dresden; and District 28, the new open seat in Southern Middle Tennessee. Herron and Haynes are both retiring. District 28 is, in effect, the seat moved from Shelby County by redistricting – a shift that left Democratic Sens. Jim Kyle and Beverly Marrero to run against one another in the primary.
The next most competitive category is “leaning.”
District 10, now held by retiring Democratic Sen. Andy Berke of Chattanooga, is rated as “leaning Republican.” District 16, now held by retiring Democratic Sen. Eric Stewart of Belvidere, and District 22, held by Democratic Sen. Tim Barnes of Clarksville, are rated as “leaning Democratic.”
Thus, Democrats would have to sweep all six of the most competitive races just to maintain their status quo of 13 seats (versus 20 for Republicans now).
In the House, Journal Editor Ed Cromer has nine “toss-up” races.
They are seats now held by Republican Rep. David Hawk of Greeneville (District 5), Democratic Rep. Harry Tindell of Knoxville (who is retiring in District 13), Republican Rep. John Ragan of Oak Ridge (District 33), Republican Rep. David Alexander of Winchester (District 39), Democratic Rep. Gary Moore of Nashville (also retiring, District 50), Republican Rep. Jim Gotto of Nashville (District 60), Republican Rep. Tim Wirgau of Paris (District 75), Republican Rep. Andy Holt of Dresden (District 76) and the new, open-seat District 92, which covers all of Marshall County and parts of Lincoln, Franklin and Marion counties.
There’s one “leaning Democrat” seat (open seat District 53 in Nashville) and seven “leaning Republican.” Four of the latter are held by incumbent Republicans – Reps. Julia Hurley of Lenoir City, Kelly Keisling of Byrdstown, Shelia Butt of Columbia, Bill Sanderson of Kenton.
From the Journal story:
The Tennessee Journal’s initial breakdown shows 25 (House) seats in the safe, probable, or leaning Democratic categories. Democrats would have to win all nine toss-up races simply to get back to where they started — at 34 seats — and this is unlikely. Republicans need only a net gain of two seats to have a two-thirds majority.

Leave a Reply