Jan 12, 2022 - Politics

Democrats outraged over GOP redistricting plan of Nashville

The Tennessee House of Representatives meets in October 2021

The Tennessee House of Representatives meeting in October 2021. Photo: Mark Humphrey/AP

Plans to slice up Nashville's reliably Democratic congressional district sent shockwaves through the city.

Democrats reacted with disdain while Republicans were quick to defend a plan that could unseat 19-year incumbent U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper.

Driving the news: The first official congressional map will be released today when the state House redistricting committee meets. The state Senate is expected to follow with its map Thursday.

Why it matters: The GOP redistricting plan represents a tectonic shift in Nashville politics.

The intrigue: "Nashville has had a congressional 'seat' since George Washington was president," Mayor John Cooper, Rep. Cooper's brother, tells Axios. "There's no sound reason to lose that, as Nashville is the 22nd-largest city in the U.S. and our region's primary economic engine."

  • "The decision to ignore Nashville is remarkably confusing — so much so that one must conclude it’s just a partisan power grab," Mayor Cooper added. "This unfortunate decision will undermine Nashville and make Washington out of touch with our community."

What they're saying: Lt. Gov. Randy McNally has become convinced that, "in order to manage the explosive growth surrounding Nashville in Middle Tennessee, it makes sense the area be represented by more than one congressman," his spokesperson Adam Kleinheider tells Axios.

Yes, but: Democrats are outraged.

  • Rep. John Ray Clemmons called the proposal "a blatant attempt to silence the voice of a million Middle Tennesseans and thousands in our business community," Clemmons tells Axios.
  • Hendrell Remus, chair of the state Democratic Party, tells Axios the proposed maps could result in a legal challenge.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Nashville.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Nashville stories


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Nashville.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more