Tennessee Republicans to Unveil Congressional Redistricting Map that Could Change Delegation to 8 to 1 GOP Advantage

Tennessee Speaker of the House Cam Sexton (R-Crossville) said on Monday that a new map of the boundaries of the state’s nine congressional districts will be unveiled at a House committee hearing on Wednesday.

If the new map is approved and withstands any potential legal challenge, it could change the partisan makeup of the Tennessee Congressional delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives from seven Republicans and two Democrats in the 116th Session of Congress to eight Republicans and one Democrat in the 117th Session of Congress that will convene in January 2023 after the November 2022 midterm elections.

Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN-5), who has represented the 5th Congressional District, the majority of which consists of the heavily Democratic Davidson County, including Nashville, since 2003, appears to be the odd man out.

Tennessee Speaker Sexton told Brian Wilson, host of The Drive on Nashville radio station 99.7 WTN, on Monday afternoon that the 5th Congressional District “will be split into two, possibly three districts.”

Rep. Cooper’s brother, John Cooper, is the mayor of Metro Nashville-Davidson County. The two are the sons of the late Prentice Cooper, who served as a Democratic governor of the state in the 1940s and ran unsuccessfully for the Democrat nomination for the U.S. Senate in 1958 against Sen. Al Gore, Sr.

““I’ve never bought into the approach that having multiple people represent a big city is a bad thing,” Sexton told The Associated Press on Monday:

Senate Speaker Randy McNally, a Republican, told AP later Monday that he believes lawmakers must split up the district because of the population changes across the rest of the state.

“I think we have to because of the way the east has to move, all those districts have to move west, and the west has to move east, and that compresses Nashville,” he said.

Late Monday, The Tennessee Journal provided more details on how the Fifth Congressional District is likely to be divided:

The Tennessee Journal has learned the Senate preference is for a three-way division of heavily Democratic Nashville that would entail the 6th and 7th districts currently held by Republican Reps. John Rose of Cookeville and Mark Green of Ashland City, respectively, grabbing portions of the capital city.

Green would retain only about a third of Williamson County, the traditionally anchor of the 7th District when now-Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood) held the seat. The remainder would become part of the new-look 5th District that has been held by Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper since 2003.

Rapidly growing Rutherford County would remain entirely within the 4th District, which would likely require an overall westward migration of the seat’s boundaries. DesJarlais is from the eastern side of the district.

“Gerrymandering Nashville is an insult to all Nashvillians and likely to backfire on the Republican Party,” Rep. Cooper told The Tennessean on Monday after news broke of the plan to break up the 5th Congressional District.

“It’s not conservative to split a county that’s been whole for 240 years. The speaker is not splitting his home county, so he can’t be serious when he claims it’s good for Nashville,” Cooper added.

There has been speculation that Cooper may consider retirement in light of the rumors, now confirmed, that the Republican-controlled Tennessee General Assembly plans to divide the 5th Congressional District. Cooper also faces a challenge from the left in the Democrat primary from Odessa Kelly, who has been endorsed by the Justice Democrats.

A number of well known Republicans have been rumored to be interested in vying for the 5th Congressional District seat if its’ boundaries are changed to give GOP candidates a better chance of winning.

A court challenge to to new Congressional district map remains a possibility, but sources tell Breitbart News Tennessee is not at the top of the list of those states where Democrats intend to place a heavy emphasis on challenging new boundaries for congressional districts.


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