Republicans everywhere in Shelby County breathed the proverbial sigh of relief when State Representative Larry Scroggs‘ decision to run for Shelby County mayor was first indicated via the Flyer website on Wednesday. “Alan Crone [the county GOP chairman] got an early Christmas present,” said State Representative Paul Stanley.

But Santa Claus was most generous to Stanley, who as the junior Republican from Shelby County, was on the verge of being redistricted out of his seat until his colleague Scroggs decided conveniently to absent himself.

Democrats, as the legislature’s majority party, decide how the lines are drawn after each ten-year census, and the census of 2000 indicated population shifts that will cost the county at least one seat in the state House of Representatives, where the number will go from 17 to 16, and one in the state Senate, where the reduction will be from six to five.

Collierville’s Mark Norris, as the most junior GOP senator from Shelby County, is the most vulnerable of the county’s senators, and his suburban district could be drawn into that of the venerable Curtis Person. who has not even had an opponent since 1966.

Stanley is now likely to escape an equivalent fate, in that the requirements to reduce a House seat can be met by dissecting that of the absented Scroggs, allowing the lines of Stanley’s District 96 from the north and GOP incumbent Joe Kent‘s District 83 to be redrawn so as to meet. Other Republicans, like Tre Hargett in District 97 and Bubba Pleasant in District 99 (both Bartlett-area districts), are also probably off the hook as possible sacrificial victims.

Word is that all Democratic incumbents from Shelby County are likely to be given districts more or less in accordance with their present ones in the redistricting plan which will probably be presented to the legislature for its approval in late January or early February.

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