Axios Nashville

Picture of the Nashville skyline.
January 13, 2022

Thursday has arrived, and so has the Axios Nashville newsletter.

  • Today's weather: Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and a high of 53.

Today's newsletter is 939 words β€” a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Nashville split three ways

A map of Tennessee showing the new boarders of nine congressional districts.
Map courtesy of the House Select Committee on Redistricting

Nashville will be split between three conservative congressional districts, according to a map released yesterday by Republican lawmakers.

  • Under the plan, which is expected to have an easy path to approval, slivers of Davidson County would be lumped together with suburban and rural counties.

Why it matters: The map sets the stage for a new political reality in the state capital, which has had Democratic representation in Congress for decades.

  • U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper will be drawn into a district that voted for then-President Trump by about a 9-point margin, according to Cook Political Report editor Dave Wasserman.

Zoom out: Democratic politicians reiterated their outrage, with Rep. Antonio Parkinson, D-Memphis, calling the map "vicious" during a meeting of the House Select Committee on Redistricting.

  • Cooper's former chief of staff Lisa Quigley tweeted that the new districts diluted the influence of Black voters. About 27% of Nashville residents are Black, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

What's next: The Senate today will discuss its parallel redistricting plan. Lt. Gov. Randy McNally's spokesperson Adam Kleinheider tells Axios it will be "substantially similar" to the House version.

  • The final plan will require approval from the General Assembly and Gov. Bill Lee.

District 5: The plan calls for Cooper's district to curl across six counties. It would move to the east and south and include the southern edge of Davidson County. A chunk of western Wilson County and some of Williamson County would also be included, along with Lewis, Maury, and Marshall counties.

District 6: Republican Rep. John Rose's redrawn district includes the northeastern part of Davidson County, comprising much of East Nashville and Goodlettsville. It would extend north to the state line and east past Cookeville.

  • 79% white, 9% Black, 8% Hispanic, 1% Asian.

District 7: Republican Rep. Mark Green's new district would be much of western and northern Davidson County, including downtown Nashville. It would extend north, south, and west to include Montgomery and Robertson counties along the northern border and Wayne County along the southern border.

  • 71% white, 16% Black, 7% Hispanic, 2% Asian.

2. Consultant: Nashville backs women's pro team

Illustration of the TN flag with a basketball at the center.
Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

There is support for Nashville to recruit a professional women's soccer or basketball team at a community and corporate level, according to a consultant's report released Wednesday.

  • It's the latest encouraging sign that the effort to bring a National Women's Soccer League or WNBA franchise to Music City is gaining steam.
  • Consultant CAA Icon presented its findings on Wednesday to the women's pro sports committee, which is composed of members of the city's Sports Authority board.
  • The research consisted of approximately 4,400 web surveys mined from the email lists of Nashville's pro sports teams and interviews with top executives at 16 major corporations.

Why it matters: Nashville has three professional teams in men's sports, but no women's team.

  • 53% of those surveyed support the initiative to bring an NWSL or WNBA team to Nashville.
  • Just 14% oppose it, according to the report.

Be smart: The growing popularity of women's soccer and the need for stars that girls can look up to were cited as the main reasons supporters back a NWSL franchise.

  • The state's rich history in women's college basketball combined with the lack of a pro men's team were the top reasons for wanting a WNBA team.

The big picture: There is clear corporate support, necessary for any initiative to lure a pro sports franchise. CAA Icon is continuing interviews with corporate executives.

Yes, but: Finding a facility is a major issue for a possible WNBA team. While the city's state-of-the-art soccer facility will be completed this year for the MLS' Nashville SC, which would serve as a perfect home for a NWSL franchise, there were concerns about the options for a basketball venue.

  • Bridgestone Arena may be too large for the crowds WNBA franchises typically draw. The city-owned Municipal Auditorium would need a major investment in upgrades.

Go deeper.

3. Lee makes Supreme Court nomination

A portrait of Tennessee Supreme Court appointee Sarah Campbell
Sarah Keeton Campbell. Photo courtesy of the governor's office

Gov. Bill Lee is appointing Sarah Keeton Campbell to be Tennessee's next Supreme Court justice.

  • Campbell will fill the seat that's been vacant since the death of Justice Cornelia Clark.
  • She earned her law degree at Duke and is an associate solicitor general and special assistant to the attorney general. Her appointment was first reported by the Tennessee Journal.

Why it matters: Campbell, just 39, clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito and is a member of the conservative Federalist Society.

Details: Following Campbell's appointment, which must be confirmed by the General Assembly, the Supreme Court will be composed of four justices appointed by Republican governors and one appointed by a Democrat.

4. The Setlist

Illustration of a concert-style poster reading "The Setlist, catch up quick, weekday mornings, the internet," and two silhouettes of the Nashville skyline, over a three-color gradient.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

πŸ“° The Tennessean is cutting its Saturday print edition. (Nashville Post)

πŸ’ Filip Forsberg is a big reason why the Predators have surged into first place in the Western Conference. (The Athletic, subscription required)

πŸ’° Stakeholders have until Jan. 18 to provide feedback on the proposed update to Tennessee's education funding strategy. (WPLN)

Quote du jour:
"Covid bad."
β€” Metro Health Director Gill Wright, as seen in the agenda for the next meeting of the Metro Public Health Department (Thanks to Tennessean reporter Brett Kelman for flagging).

5. To rent or not to rent

Data:Β ATTOM; Map: Jared Whalen/Axios

It's cheaper to rent than to buy a home in Nashville, according to a new report by real estate database ATTOM.

  • The data reflects soaring prices and a red-hot housing market.

Between the lines: Renting was also more affordable in Williamson and Wilson counties.

  • Sumner, Robertson, and Cheatham counties fared better for homebuyers.

Yes, but: Rent is also getting more expensive across the city, especially in the urban core.

⚾ Nate is watching Jon Lester highlights after the Cubs legend announced his retirement. A favorite is this thrilling pickoff throw against the Cardinals.

πŸ“½ Adam is catching up on prestige movies. Next up: "The Power of the Dog."