TN Politics: Democrats Could Lose U.S. House Seat in Redistricting Scheme

Jun 11, 2021

Map of Tennessee's 5th Congressional District.
Credit Jim Cooper

Tennessee may be a deep red state, but its two biggest urban areas have large concentrations of Democrats. It's why voters in two of the state's nine congressional districts -- the ninth, in Memphis and the fifth, in Nashville -- are able to elect U.S. Congressmen aligned with other urban voters. That could change.

Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper of Nashville has sounded the alarm that state Republicans are considering a new redistricting map that would carve Davidson County's Democratic stronghold into wedges and fold them into outlying rural areas dominated by Republicans. 

Could that happen in Memphis? Political analyst Otis Sanford says that because Shelby County lies in the corner of the state, it would be more difficult to chop up the voting bloc. But because Davidson County is surrounded by other counties, it's easier to divide. 

Also, this week, Democrats in Shelby County governments are debating property tax increases at a time when new property reappraisals left many residents with sticker shock. 

Finally, as local COVID-19 regulations are lifted, some local businesses and institutions are looking to make vaccinations harder to avoid.