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Tennessee - 1st District

Incumbent -- Phil Roe (R) ; Running for re-election

Safe Republican
Race Ratings Key

CQ Politics rates this race as "Safe," meaning the incumbent party is virtually certain to win the seat.


District Information

District Profile from Politics in America

Rolling hills and mountains cover the 1st, which borders Virginia and North Carolina. The district combines a manufacturing sector to the east with smaller agricultural and tourism centers to the west and south. Some of the steady population growth throughout the district in the last decade has been driven by Hispanic residents settling in the 1st.

Near Virginia, the Tri-Cities of Kingsport, Johnson City and Bristol anchor the district's economy. They focus their energies on chemicals, auto parts and drug manufacturing, but the region frequently struggles with high unemployment rates. Some growth in retail sales boosted the local economy but has not been able completely to offset several years of downturns. East Tennessee State University in Johnson City is a key employer and a medical hub for much of this part of Appalachia. To the northwest, Hancock County is severely impoverished. Farmers in Washington, Cocke and Greene counties raise livestock, tobacco and fruit, providing one of the only sources of economic stability here.

Hamblen County offers outdoor recreation, and Morristown, which is known for its Civil War heritage, boasts popular water sports sites. Farther south, tourists visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the region's excursion circuit of outlet shopping malls and neon-lit amusement parks. Gatlinburg's Star Cars Museum houses famous cars from movies, and the Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge lures millions of tourists annually.

East Tennessee's strong Republican lean dates to the Civil War. In 2008, John McCain won the district with 70 percent of its presidential vote, his highest percentage statewide, and he did not take less than 65 percent of the vote in any of the 1st's dozen counties. Gov. Bill Haslam won every county wholly or partly in the district -- some of them by considerably more than 3-to-1 margins -- in the 2010 gubernatorial race.

Major Industry

Tourism, health care, manufacturing, farming


Johnson City, 63,152; Kingsport, 48,205; Morristown, 29,137; Bristol, 26,702; Greeneville, 15,062


Jonesborough, the state's oldest settlement, is home to the National Storytelling Festival.




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