gloria johnson

Upstairs, Downstairs: A guide to new House office assignments

Rep. Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville) sits at her desk moved into a hallway in the Cordell Hull Building in Nashville on Jan 28, 2021. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) has issued new office assignments to 37 of the chamber’s 99 members. We’ve pieced together who went where by comparing this year’s directory with the last.

The House occupies three floors in the Cordell Hull Building, with the sixth floor being considered prime real estate because that’s where the speaker’s suite is located.

Rep. Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville) received media attention this week when it turned out the outspoken lawmaker had been assigned a small converted conference room, while her assistant was placed in a former closet across the hall. Johnson moved her desk out into the hallway in protest.

New lawmakers in italics, former ones in parentheses:

RepresentativePartyPreviousNewLast tennant
Alexander, RebeccaR516Hazlewood, Patsy
Campbell, ScottyR582Hall, Mark
Carr, DaleR568560Williams, Ryan
Carringer, MicheleR510Cepicky, Scott
Cepicky, ScottR510678Travis, Ron
Darby, TandyR676Marsh, Pat
Dixie, VincentD550662Stewart, Mike
Doggett, ClayR580672Sexton, Jerry
Garrett, JohnnyR508636Johnson, Curtis
Gillespie, JohnR590(DeBerry, John)
Grills, RustyR400650Moody, Debra
Halford, CurtisR426526(Daniel, Martin)
Hall, MarkR582550Dixie, Vincent
Harris, TorreyD420Thompson, D.
Hawk, DavidR406648Vaughan, Kevin
Hazlewood, PatsyR516622Lynn, Susan
Hicks, GaryR640642(Holt, Andy)
Hicks, TimR518(Tillis, Rick)
Hodges, JasonD414508Garrett, Johnny
Holsclaw, John R534652(Coley, Jim)
Johnson, CurtisR636612(Dunn, Bill)
Johnson, GloriaD442427[new office]
Lynn, SusanR622426Halford, Curtis
Mannis, EddieR568Carr, Dale
Marsh, PatR676610(Hill, Matthew)
McKenzie, SamD512(Staples, Rick)
Miller, Larry J.D432580Doggett, Clay
Mitchell, BoD440400Grills, Rusty
Moody, DebraR650680(Hill, Timothy)
Parkinson, AntonioD422419(new office)
Sexton, JerryR672430(Van Huss, Micah)
Stewart, MikeD662422Parkinson, Antonio
Thompson, DwayneD420406Hawk, David
Travis, RonR678534Holsclaw, John
Vaughan, KevinR648519[new office]
Warner, ToddR414Garrett, Johnny
Williams, RyanR560640Hicks, Gary

The Knoxville mayor’s election and state House races

(Credit: Don Johnson)

We were fascinated by a map detailing the sharp geographical divide in this month’s mayoral runoff in Knoxville. So much so, that we asked talented mapmaker to superimpose state House districts onto the map to see what it would tell us about potential matchups next year.

For reference, here are the incumbents:

  • District 13: Democrat Gloria Johnson, who beat Republican incumbent Republican Eddie Smith by 12 percentage points.
  • District 14: Republican Jason Zachary, who beat Democrat Justin Davis by 31 points.
  • District 15: Democrat Rick Staples, who was unopposed.
  • District 16: Republican Bill Dunn, who beat Democrat Kate Trudell by 40 points. Dunn has announced he will retire next year.
  • District 18: Republican Martin Daniel, who beat Democrat Greg Mackay by 3 points.
  • District 19: Republican Dave Wright, who beat Democrat Edward Nelson by 48 points.
  • District 89: Republican Justin Lafferty, who beat Democrat Coleen Martinez by 28 points.

So what do the results tell us? Mostly that the status quo is probably fairly relieved.

Indya Kincannon, the Democratic winner of the mayor’s race didn’t carry any GOP House districts, while Republican Eddie Mannis didn’t win in Democratic ones. Kincannon did carry precincts in Republican freshman Rep. Dave Wright’s district, but most of his terrority lies outside the city limits and he won his 2018 race by a massive 48 points.

Rep. Daniel, who suffered a close call in last year’s election, saw Mannis carry 55% of his district. But Daniel has positioned himself more to the right than Mannis, so it remains to be seen whether Democrats can mount another credible challenge.

Johnson’s 12-point win over incumbent Smith last year was an outlier after their previous two contests had been decided in tight races. But Kincannon’s 10-point margin over Mannis in the district shows Johnson’s big win probably wasn’t a fluke.

Many thanks again to Don Johnson for his fine mapmaking work!

 

 

Resolution to oust Byrd won’t be on calendar. But is one even needed?

Embattled Rep. David Byrd (R-Waynesboro) attends a House Education Committee meeting in Nashville on March 28, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The Tennessean’s Natalie Allison reports that a resolution seeking to oust state Rep. David Byrd (R-Waynesboro) over sexual misconduct allegations dating back to when he was a girls’ high school basketball coach in the 1980s won’t be placed on the House calendar for this week’s special session.

If Rep. Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville) wants her resolution to be taken up, it would require a two-thirds majority to suspend the rules — the same margin required to oust a sitting member.

But there’s a fairly obvious workaround, if past experience with the ouster of then-Rep. Jeremy Durham (R-Franklin) is any guide. During the 2016 special session to undo a drunken driving bill that threatened $60 million in highway funds for running afoul of federal guidelines, Rep. Susan Lynn (R-Mt. Juliet) stood to announce a motion to oust Durham over the sexual misconduct allegations laid out in a state attorney general’s report.

There was no accompanying resolution for the successful effort to remove Durham, which rankled the former lawmaker’s few supporters in the chamber. They included then-Rep. Rick Womick (R-Murfreesboro), who likened the House to a “banana republic” if any member could just stand and make a motion to oust another.

But Joe McCord, the House clerk at the time, cited the following provision in the Tennessee Constitution outlining the power to remove members:

Section 12. Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member, but not a second time for the same offense; and shall have all other powers necessary for a branch of the Legislature of a free state.

While the General Assembly is required to stay within the governor’s call for the special session, which are to pass updates to court rules that didn’t get taken up during this spring’s regular session, internal housekeeping matters like leadership elections are also allowed.

Byrd, who was recorded by one of the now-adult women apologizing for unspecified sins in the past, has been urged by Lee not to seek re-election next year.