Former State Sen. Kerry Roberts of Springfield has announced as a candidate for the District 25 state Senate seat now held by fellow Republican Jim Summerville of Dickson.
The district includes Cheatham, Dickson, Hickman, Humphreys and Robertson counties.
From The Tennessean: Roberts served as state senator for District 18 from March 2011 until November 2012 after being elected to finish the term vacated by Diane Black, who was elected to Congress in November 2010. Roberts left office on Nov. 6, having been drawn out of the district he represented by the legislature.
Robertson County was separated from Sumner County in District 18 and moved into District 25, which is represented by (Summerville, who was not up for re-election in 2012, but will be in 2014.)
…Roberts’ announcement comes days after State Rep. Joshua Evans, R-District 66, confirmed to the Robertson County Times that he is also considering making a bid for the seat.
The incumbent, Summerville, has already announced his intentions of running for reelection. And Wayne White, a Republican from the city of Slayden in Dickson County, has also announced his candidacy.
Michael Cass has a story on Sen. Kerry Roberts being redistricted out of a run for re-elecction by his fellow Republican senators – starting with the observation that Gov. Bill Haslam hosted a fundraiser for Roberts just a day before the redistricting plan was announced. The redistricting plan, unveiled less than 24 hours after the fundraiser, left some people wondering where Roberts had gone astray and whose bad side he had wound up on. But Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, speaker of the Senate, insisted Friday that it was legal necessity, not political grudges, that spawned the proposal.
“I am catching a lot of heat over this,” Ramsey said in a phone interview. “But there comes a time when you have to say that all you can do is what’s legal. This is the best we can do.”
“I want to stress that Kerry Roberts is my friend,” added Ramsey, who, with House Speaker Beth Harwell, co-hosted another fundraiser for Roberts in Gallatin on Dec. 12.
Roberts, a certified public accountant and bicycle enthusiast who owns The Bike Pedlar, did not respond to a phone message and two emails seeking comment Friday. He was elected less than a year ago in a special election to fill the vacancy created by former Sen. Diane Black’s move to Congress.
…Ramsey said population shifts and a constitutional requirement to avoid splitting counties between legislative districts forced a move to bring Robertson County, where Roberts lives, into a newly drawn District 25 with Dickson County — which is (Sen. Jim) Summerville’s home — as well as Cheatham, Humphreys, Perry and Lewis counties.
…Ramsey said Senate Democrats split some counties between districts in the last redistricting process 10 years ago, but they were never challenged on it.
However, the state attorney general’s office told Ramsey and the rest of the Senate redistricting team a few days before Christmas that splitting Robertson County into two districts would have left them vulnerable to a legal challenge. So team members went “back to the drawing table” and “lived on a conference call” between Christmas and New Year’s Day so they could find a solution.
Unfortunately, Ramsey said, that solution put Roberts in the electoral wilderness.
“I don’t see another option,” Ramsey said. “This is no doubt the toughest thing I’ve ever done in my 20-year legislative career.”
Ramsey said he had been exploring another potential option for Roberts. Under that scenario, if Roberts moved to Sumner County and could get a waiver of the constitutional requirement that candidates live in a district at least a year before the election, he could run in District 18 again this fall.
Ramsey said the idea was worth a shot since Roberts didn’t have a chance to live in Sumner County a year before the November election. He said he had talked to Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper about the matter twice already.
“It’s hard to get a waiver on the (state) constitution,” the lieutenant governor said Friday afternoon. “But we’re checking into it to see if it can be considered an extenuating circumstance.”
But he said later in the day that Roberts’ chances of making the move and withstanding a legal challenge were slim.
Gallatin pharmacist Ferrell Haile has announced he will next year seek the Republican nomination for the 18th District state Senate seat now held by fellow Republican Kerry Roberts of Springfield, says the Tennessean. Haile, a lifelong Sumner County resident, co-owner of Perkins Drugs in Gallatin and a cattle farmer, was appointed as interim 18th District state senator by the Sumner County Commission by unanimous vote Nov. 22, 2010 when Diane Black resigned following her election to the U.S. House of Representatives last year.
“I enjoyed serving,” Haile said. “I felt like I was able to do some good and be a positive influence in the process, and I’d like to be able to do that again.”
Haile did not seek the GOP nomination during the 2011 special primary election for Black’s seat. Kerry Roberts of Springfield won the GOP nomination in January and went on to defeat Portland Democrat Ken Wilber by a landslide victory in the special election held in March.