Report: Tennessee Democrat Rep. Jim Cooper Considers Retirement Due to Redistricting

U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Nashville, talks to reporters at his Nashville office, Feb. 16, 20
Jonathan Mattise/AP

Tennessee’s once-in-a-decade redistricting maps are expected to be approved by the state’s General Assembly sometime this week, and Democrat Rep. Jim Cooper (TN) has reportedly considered retirement instead of running in a tough reelection.

Cooper would ultimately face a difficult reelection bid if the new maps are adopted and would “likely” face defeat, but has not ruled out retiring instead, according to a report from the Axios Nashville newsletter. A Cooper spokesperson told Axios that the congressman is looking into every option to “prevent the gerrymandering of Nashville.”

The maps could be overturned with a legal challenge in the state or even in the state House and Senate to stop Nashville from being split into three different congressional districts in the new map. Indeed, a legal challenge is expected.

“Undoubtedly, we’ll end up in court where their actions have been struck down time and again,” said the Tennessee Democrat Party Chairperson Hendrell Remus to Axios. “What Republican legislators fail to realize is that these maps don’t just impact elections, they impact the vitality of our communities and the lives of real people.”

But Axios pointed out that Tennessee’s constitution is less restrictive on the redistricting process than other states like Ohio, where there was a successful challenge to the redistricting maps. Ben Gastel, a Nashville attorney, thinks that a challenge attempt in the state would be a difficult route. “I would say that your best path forward in the state of Tennessee is a federal challenge,” he said.

While the Republican leadership in the state is reportedly confident that their maps would be maintained in a legal attempt to overturn them, Cooper’s potential challengers are reportedly waiting to see if there are any lawsuits before deciding if they would run.

Camille Gallo, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), which is the House Republican campaign committee, said, “If Jim Cooper was smart, he’d retire instead of losing in November.”

Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter.


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