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Updated Oct. 14, 2010
TIn such a Republican-friendly environment, Democrats are wary their hold on the middle Tennessee 4th district could slip away late in the campaign.
Davis has been a relatively weak fundraiser for an incumbent, and GOP strategists say his vote for the controversial stimulus bill has given Republicans a key campaign issue to tie the Congressman to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
But Davis has worked hard in his four terms to cultivate the image that he's a centrist who has stuck to his socially conservative roots. The Blue Dog Democrat has earned endorsements from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Rifle Association and the National Right to Life in this cycle.
His Republican challenger, physician Scott DesJarlais, isn't a top-flight recruit and hasn't raised much cash. Democrats have already made an issue of some of the more shocking details of DesJarlais' nasty divorce proceedings from 2000 and 2001.
Davis continues to be favored, but he'll need to work hard to hang on if a large Republican wave hits on Election Day.
District Profile from Politics in America
Stretching across more than 10,000 square miles from Kentucky in the north to Alabama and Georgia in the south, the 4th is Tennessee's most geographically vast district. Plains turn east into rolling hills that merge with the Cumberland Plateau and eventually the Appalachian Mountains.
The 4th falls in the orbits of Oak Ridge and Chattanooga in the east and Nashville in the west, but it is overwhelmingly rural. No one major media market serves all of the 4th, forcing coverage to be shared among Oak Ridge, Chattanooga, Nashville and Huntsville, Ala. The district struggles with low median household incomes and education levels.
The 4th includes tobacco farms and light industry in the south. Spring Hill, in Maury County, hosts a General Motors engine plant. Proximity to Nashville has kept the populations of Maury and next-door Williamson County (shared with the 7th) growing. Tourism plays a small role in the district's economy, but the northern tier of the 4th does attract visitors to the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area in Fentress, Pickett and Scott counties.
Although the 4th has an ancestrally Democratic lean, underlying social conservatism -- manifested in opposition to abortion and gun control measures -- gives the 4th a Republican edge in federal contests.
Agriculture, manufacturing, tobacco
Arnold Air Force Base, 218 military, 276 civilian (2009)
Columbia, 34,681; Tullahoma, 18,655
The Jack Daniel's sour mash whiskey distillery in Lynchburg is in dry Moore County.
|2010||general||Scott DesJarlais (R)||103,969||57.1%|
|Lincoln Davis (D)||70,254||38.6%|
|Paul Curtis (I)||3,178||1.7%|
|Gerald York (I)||2,159||1.2%|
|James Gray (I)||1,714||0.9%|
|Richard Johnson (I)||917||0.5%|
|2008||general||Lincoln Davis (D)||146,776||58.8%|
|Monty Lankford (R)||94,447||37.8%|
|James Gray (I)||4,869||1.9%|
|Kevin Ragsdale (I)||3,713||1.5%|
|2006||general||Lincoln Davis (D)||123,666||66.4%|
|Kenneth Martin (R)||62,449||33.6%|
|2004||general||Lincoln Davis (D)||138,459||54.8%|
|Janice Bowling (R)||109,993||43.5%|
|Ken Martin (X)||4,194||1.7%|
|2002||general||Lincoln Davis (D)||95,989||52.1%|
|Janice Bowling (R)||85,680||46.5%|
|William Chandler (I)||1,073||0.6%|
|John Ray (I)||605||0.3%|
|Bert Mason (I)||504||0.3%|
|Ed Wellmann (I)||399||0.2%|
|2008||Barack Obama: 34%||John McCain: 64%|
|2004||John Kerry: 41%||George W. Bush: 58%|
|2000||Al Gore: 49%||George W. Bush: 49%|