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A draft Congressional redistricting plan released today by the Tennessee Legislature solidifies the partisan makeup of the Volunteer State's Congressional delegation.
The map includes seven solidly Republican districts and two comfortably Democratic districts, anchored in Memphis and Nashville. Earlier speculation in the state was that Republicans, who control both chambers of the Legislature and the governor's mansion, might try to draw a map with eight Republican seats. But both Democratic-held districts remain intact in this proposal.
"My Congressional district looks good, better than I expected," longtime Rep. Jim Cooper (D) told Roll Call. "There's less gerrymandering in this map and they seem to have done a responsible job," he said, noting that Nashville is fully in one district under the proposed lines.
The Memphis-based 9th district, held by Rep. Steve Cohen (D), remains heavily Democratic even with the addition of almost 100,000 residents. "It'll be good for me," Cohen said in a short interview. "Overall, it's a good day."
The draft map remains in committee, but could be passed by the state House as early as next week. It is unclear when it might pass the state Senate.
Among the Republican-held seats, freshman Rep. Stephen Fincher's 8th district was shored up in the draft map, becoming dramatically more Republican. Rep. Marsha Blackburn's 7th district grows slightly less Republican under the proposed lines, but remains a safe GOP district.