Members of the legislature convened in Nashville on January 11th to begin the 2nd legislative session of the 112th General Assembly. As the legislature kicked off, discussions about the newly drawn electoral maps dominated many conversations around Capitol Hill and beyond. As Republicans in Washington seek to regain a majority in the House, Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District in Middle Tennessee was one district they sought to flip.
During the first week of session, the Senate and House Ad Hoc Committees on Redistricting met to propose and approve new State Senate, State House and Congressional Electoral Maps. The maps were then signed off by the standing committees and approved along party lines on the House and Senate floors the following week.
The new State House, State Senate, and Congressional districts were signed by Speaker Sexton and Lt. Gov. McNally on January 27th and were transmitted to the Governor. He signed the new maps into law on February 6th. With the freshly drawn districts, Republicans are expected to pick up a handful of seats this fall in the State House, while the party mix is expected to remain the same in the Senate. Shortly after the maps were cemented by both chambers, long-time U.S. Congressman of the 5th District, Representative Jim Cooper, announced he would retire from his post, leaving the seat open. With several candidates already vying for the 5th District Congressional seat, a host of candidates are expected to enter the race, in what could be one of the most expensive Congressional races in Tennessee history. Congressional incumbents of Tennessee’s other 8 districts are expected to retain their seats.