New Tennessee Map Cements GOP Dominance

Posted January 26, 2012 at 4:55pm

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) signed a new Congressional redistricting map into law today, protecting incumbents and shoring up the Republican majority in the Volunteer State.

The new map almost ensures that Reps. Jim Cooper of Nashville and Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis will remain the only Democrats in the state’s federal delegation in the 113th Congress. Currently there are seven Republican and two Democratic Members of the House from Tennessee.

“If growth patterns persist, a 7-2 is likely for the decade,” said one Republican operative familiar with Tennessee politics.

The big winner of the new map is freshman Rep. Stephen Fincher (R), who saw his 8th district shored up substantially. It went from a somewhat competitive district to one that would have voted more than 64 percent for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the 2008 presidential election — a safe Republican seat.

Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R) becomes more vulnerable to a serious primary challenge under the new map, which gives him lots of new territory. But the district, the 4th, remains solidly Republican.