GOP, Cooper Sizing Up Potential Fight After Redistricting

Tennessee Republicans are talking about a push to unseat Nashville Democrat Jim Cooper next year. The GOP has made big gains in recent elections, and is eyeing what it might add after redrawing the state’s Congressional districts.

State GOP Chairman Chris Devaney says priority one for the party is holding its ground. After that, depending on how redistricting plays out, Cooper’s seat could become a target. Devaney thinks Cooper’s feeling vulnerable, because the longtime incumbent campaigned hard for reelection last fall.

“I’ve never seen Jim Cooper television ads on TV like they were. I mean it was pretty remarkable, and so I think that shook him up. He must have seen something in his own poll numbers to spend that kind of money on a race that some people think is a slam-dunk for the Democrats, which I don’t think it is.”

Some Republicans have floated the idea of splitting Cooper’s district, right now made up by most of Davidson County along with slivers of Wilson and Cheatham counties. Cooper says it’d be a shame to divide Nashville, and that Republicans are overreaching, but went on that he welcomes competition.

“That makes the candidates better, and it gives voters better choices, so I think competition’s a good thing. Nobody should be interested in a one-party monopoly in Tennessee politics.”

And Cooper maintains his turf is already right around the target population for the redistricting process. So he argues it shouldn’t need much adjusting at all.

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