In Robin Smith’s comments on talk radio this morning, she observed that Tennessee’s Third District, after redistricting, would be “very favorable” towards a challenger to the incumbent. She alluded to the idea that there would be only one mass media market—that would be Chattanooga—instead of the current multiple markets where it’s necessary to purchase campaign messaging.
Political analysts have concluded that one of the reasons U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann was able to defeat Smith was his strong showing in the northern counties of the current district, particularly in Anderson County.
Anderson, and its primary municipality Oak Ridge, are of course within the Knoxville broadcasting area, as are several of the other counties that lie past the extremely narrow strip that connects the two ends of the district.
You can be sure that current and potential challengers are looking at this information, and are assessing how a reconfigured district that is more concisely centered on Hamilton County could help them.
Of course, until the maps are revealed, and approved by the Legislature, all of this is talk. But something tells me that it’s not purely idle talk.