Feb 7, 2022 - Politics

Odessa Kelly may switch districts

Odessa Kelly speaking on stage in a blue checkered shirt
Photo: Yihyun Jeong/The Tennessean/USA Today Network

Odessa Kelly is pondering a jump into the new District 7 congressional race.

  • Kelly has been running for the District 5 seat as an insurgent primary challenger to Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper.
  • Backed by Justice Democrats and fueled by progressive support, the labor and social justice activist has established herself as a force in Nashville politics.

Why it matters: The newly drawn congressional districts, which favor Republicans, started a domino effect that led to Cooper's retirement.

  • Redistricting opens possibilities for which Nashville district Kelly might seek. A congressional candidate does not need to live in a district in order to seek its seat, but they do have to live there if elected.

By the numbers: Political data analyst Dave Rosenberg, who also serves on the Metro Council, tells Axios that District 7 voted for former President Trump in the 2020 election by 15 points.

  • On the other hand, Marsha Blackburn defeated moderate Democrat Phil Bredesen in the 2018 Senate race by just 0.5 points.
  • Republican Rep. Mark Green currently represents District 7.

What they're saying: "She is analyzing all of the new districts and is considering running in the 7th," a spokesperson for Kelly's campaign tells Axios. "The campaign has not made an official decision or announcement."

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