Overall, Republicans hope to gain nine seats with this redrawing of the state's political map. That would give the GOP a whopping 73 of the 99 House seats in this bright red state.
In Nashville, Reps. Mike Stewart and Sherry Jones—two of the House's most liberal members—have been selected for special treatment. The Republicans pitched Stewart and Jones into the same district and created a new, open-seat district at the southern edge of the county. It's Democratic (55 percent black and Hispanic) so neither party gains anything. According to House Democratic Caucus chairman Mike Turner, the GOP is targeting Stewart and Jones strictly out of spite. Republicans hate them, it turns out. Who knew?
What the Republicans did is fairly ingenious. They have the pleasure of messing with Jones and Stewart while at the same time creating a new majority-minority district. That makes it hard for Democrats to complain too loudly.
The House's ad hoc committee on redistricting is meeting now and witnesses are testifying, but the plans are done and today's hearing is a dog-and-pony show for the sake of appearances. Later today, the plan will whisk through a House subcommittee on its way to passage by the full legislature in the opening couple of weeks of this year's session. There's no word yet on when Senate Republicans will start moving their plan, which remains secret. We also don't know yet when the legislature's plan for the state's congressional districts will be made public.