Nearly half of the Democrats in the Tennessee Senate are retiring in the next year – which isn’t saying much. There are only seven left. And with no mercy rule in politics, Republicans say they plan on running up their numbers.
A GOP supermajority means there’s almost no way Democrats can stand in the way of any legislation. So it’s hard to make a strong case for controlling more than 26 of the 33 seats, as they do now. But Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey says he can’t resist.
“First of all, I guess it’s the competitive juices in you, that they’re just flowing. It is a challenge. And we’re getting closer and closer to not having any challenges.”
Of the three retiring Democrats, Ramsey predicts the seat of Charlotte Burks near Cookeville would be the easiest to bring into the Republican column. He also says he’ll do “everything” he can to flip the West Tennessee seat of Lowe Finney, where no county voted for President Barack Obama last year.
No Republican has announced in Nashville’s Senate District 21, where long-serving Doug Henry is retiring. It leans heavily Democratic, but Ramsey says he plans to help someone run. “In a non-presidential year, with the right candidate,” he says, “it could happen.”