The congressional district that includes Nashville would stretch west and encompass Dickson County under a proposal released Friday by Republicans in the state legislature. But all in all, the representative who holds the seat calls the redistricting plan “fair.”
Congressman Jim Cooper and Mayor Karl Dean – both Democrats – had worried Nashville might be split up in order to dilute its progressive voting base. Republicans are in charge of redrawing congressional boundaries because of their majorities in the General Assembly. And while he was blocked from being part of the process, Cooper says he was pleasantly surprised with the product.
“Well, they did a lot better than I feared. It’s really a pretty good effort.”
Cooper’s 5th Congressional District would no longer include any of Wilson County. The seat gains all of Dickson County and a small chunk of Davidson that had been whittled out in previous years.
Statewide, the redistricting plan splits fewer counties than the map from ten years ago. And there are no districts that look quite like that of Marsha Blackburn from Brentwood, whose district would no longer stretch to the Memphis suburbs.
Rutherford and Bedford counties have been moved to the district represented by Congressman Scott DesJarlais, giving at least two Republican state senators who’ve been mulling runs for Congress opportunity to face DesJarlais instead of Rep. Diane Black, their former colleague in the state senate.
In a statement, DesJarlais declined to comment on the proposed district lines, saying only that he’s committed to being a – quote – “independent conservative voice for Tennesseans.” Perhaps not coincidentally, Friday he also released his first reelection radio ad:
WOMAN: “Where are you going?”
MAN: “I’m going to see how I can help Scott DesJarlais.”
WOMAN: “Wait for me. I want to keep Scott fighting for us too.”
State Senator Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro hasn’t said whether he will challenge DesJarlais in the Republican primary. He tells the Daily News Journal he’ll make an announcement Monday. State Senator Jim Tracy of Shelbyville tells the Associated Press he hasn’t had time to consider whether to run.
The proposed map also shifts Coffee County and parts of the northern Cumberland Plateau into Rep. Diane Black’s district. Nashville’s district moves to the west and now encompasses all of Davidson County. The 8th District in West Tennessee, currently occupied by Republican Stephen Fincher, would no longer reach into Middle Tennessee.