Following the 2020 census, every state has redrawn its congressional district maps and, in some states, the redrawn maps have proven decisively favorable to the particular political party that holds power there, be they Democrat or Republican.
Tennessee is one of those states, and Gov. Bill Lee (R) just signed into law a redistricting bill that appears more favorable for Republicans in eight of the state’s nine congressional districts, the Washington Examiner reported.
The newly redrawn map has already prompted one elected Democrat, Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN), to announce his retirement rather than attempt to run for re-election again in his Nashville-area district.
New map proves more favorable to Republicans than before
It was on Sunday that Gov. Lee signed into law the bill known as S.B. 781, which had passed overwhelmingly on Jan. 24 by a vote of 70-26.
Of course, Democrats and their ideologically-aligned media allies wasted no time in crying foul over the new district maps that, perhaps unsurprisingly, favor Republicans over Democrats in the heavily Republican state.
Bloomberg Government reported that the biggest bone of contention against the newly redrawn map is the manner in which it parceled out the Democratic-leaning Davidson County — home of the city of Nashville — into three separate congressional districts.
That had the effect of diluting the power of the Democratic vote in parts of that city, which used to be fully within the 5th District but is now split between the 5th, 6th, and 7th Districts, with the 6th and 7th Districts already being predominately Republican.
Coinciding with that were Democratic accusations that the split of Nashville also served to dilute the voting power of minorities in the city, which is just a fancier way of screaming “bigot” and “racist” by Tennessee Democrats.
For what it is worth, however, top Republican lawmaker and House Speaker Pro Temp Steve Marsh told Bloomberg that the new map was fully in accordance with all federal and state requirements, had not split up the Nashville area for partisan purposes, and would actually prove beneficial for the city by now sending three representatives to Congress instead of just one.
Dem Rep. Cooper retires rather than run again in redrawn district
The Examiner noted that the redistricting proved too much to bear for the 5th District’s Rep. Cooper, who announced his decision to retire after 32 years in office instead of seeking re-election right after the redistricting bill had been passed by the state Senate.
“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,” Cooper complained in his statement. “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.”
Bloomberg noted that the prior 5th District had voted for President Joe Biden in 2020 by a margin of 24 points over former President Donald Trump, but the newly redrawn district would have gone for Trump over Biden by a margin of 11 percentage points.