State Rep. Joanne Favors said she will likely run for re-election even though the Republican-led redistricting will pit her against fellow Democrat Rep. Tommie Brown.
“I have seen a rough draft of the redistricting map and it puts many of my precincts in the (new) district,” Favors said recently. “Many of my people are urging me to run and I have said I would run if it were the will of the people.”
Brown said she has not yet decided what she will do.
“I am taking a look at it,” Brown said Monday. “But my first and foremost role, after representing of the 28th for almost 20 years, is my obligation to citizens. I am looking at the whole merger concept and the impact it will have, not on me or Joanne, we are incidental to this whole thing. It is the future and the importance of the people’s right to exercise their right to vote.”
Voting lines are redrawn every 10 years, following the U.S. Census population count. Federal laws require the population to be evenly divided among districts and include the appropriate number of majority minority districts, based on the breakdown of minority voters.
House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick said the requirements will mean taking part of Favors’ District 29 to bolster the number of minority voters in Brown’s District 28. The move, which will eliminate Favors’ district, will likely reduce Hamilton County’s voting block by one Democrat and one minority representative.
McCormick said Hamilton County must have one majority minority district. It is more practical to combine District 29, with about 30 percent minority voters, with District 28, he said. If he tried to combine parts of other districts with Brown’s district, it would dilute the minority voting pool, he said.
After the 2000 Census Hamilton County had five and one-half districts, with District 31 divided between Hamilton and Rhea counties. But the tentative redistricting plan removes District 31 from Hamilton County and combines part of District 29 into District 28, giving the county five districts. One district will be majority minority and largely Democrat, and the other four will be largely Republican, McCormick said.
Brown said she is watching closely to ensure compliance with the 1964 Voting Rights Act and wants to examine the shifts in districts closely.
“Some are natural and some are man made and I’m going to look into that,” she said.
The legislature will take up the Republican-led redistricting plan when the 107th session convenes in January 2012.