Congressman Jim Cooper (D-TN-05) announced on Tuesday that he will not seek reelection.
This comes in the wake of the Tennessee General Assembly’s passage of the new redistricting maps, which split Nashville amongst three congressional districts. Under the old maps, the city of Nashville comprises the bulk of the 5th Congressional District.
Congressman Cooper said:
Today I am announcing that I will not run for re-election to Congress. After 32 years in office, I will be leaving Congress next year.
I cannot thank the people of Nashville enough. You backed me more than almost anyone in Tennessee history, making me the state’s 3rd longest-serving member of Congress. You allowed me to help millions of people while representing our state capital, as well as 30 of our state’s 95 counties.
The statement lays the blame on the Tennessee General Assembly’s new congressional maps for his decision:
Despite my strength at the polls, I could not stop the General Assembly from dismembering Nashville. No one tried harder to keep our city whole. I explored every possible way, including lawsuits, to stop the gerrymandering and to win one of the three new congressional districts that now divide Nashville. There’s no way, at least for me in this election cycle, but there may be a path for other worthy candidates.
I am announcing my decision promptly so that others have more time to campaign. I will return the individual contributions that I have received for this race so that donors can redirect them as they choose.
Congressman Cooper once represented Tennessee’s 4th Congressional District from 1983-1995. He has represented the 5th Congressional District since 2003. It was previously reported that the existing 5th District of Tennessee is considered a Democrat stronghold where President Trump failed to achieve 40% of the vote in the 5th District in either of his two presidential campaigns. Congressman Cooper was unopposed in 2020 and didn’t fail to achieve over 62% in an election since the Republican wave midterm elections of 2010, where his opponent achieved 42.1% of the vote.
Odessa Kelly is a publicly announced candidate in the Democrat primary for the 5th, while Robby Starbuck, Natisha Brooks, and Quincy McKnight have publicly announced on the Republican side. It is expected that more candidates will come forward.
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