Staring at new Republican-leaning political terrain, longtime District 20 state Sen. Joe Haynes, a Democrat, announced Friday he won’t seek re-election in 2012, though he claimed he still could have won.
Haynes’ resignation ends a 28-year senatorial career in Tennessee, and comes three months after the retirement of his wife, Davidson County Circuit Judge Barbara Haynes, who left the bench in November.
The announcement follows last month’s state redistricting process, which placed the Goodlettsville Democrat in a dramatically altered district with West Nashville neighborhoods –– parts of Oak Hill, Forest Hills and Bellevue, for example –– where Republicans traditionally perform well. Haynes’ previous political boundaries were confined to the eastern half of Davidson County.
“This year, the ruling Republican majority has radically changed my district in an attempt to draw a district more favorable to a Republican candidate,” Haynes, 75, said in a two-page resignation statement titled, “Reflections on The American Way.”
Despite the observation, Hayes said he is “confident” he could still win “in spite of their best efforts.”
“My decision about whether to run or not was not influenced by the change in the district,” Haynes wrote. “If anything, the Republican majority succeeded in stirring my competitive juices, which encouraged me to run for another term.”
Apparently the juices weren’t stirred enough.
“The sweet siren call of my family, a huge stack of unread books and a little used fishing boat demand my attention now,” Haynes said. “That is why I am announcing today that I will not be a candidate for the Tennessee State Senate in 2012.”
Haynes’ resignation opens the door for another Republican gain in the senate, where the GOP already holds a 20-13-seat advantage. Democrats, meanwhile, will likely target the seat in November to hold their party’s ground.
State party primaries are set for Aug. 2. Election Day is Nov. 6.