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Tennessee - 6th District

Incumbent -- Bart Gordon (D) ; Will retire at end of current term (announced Dec. 14, 2009)

Safe Republican
Race Ratings Key

Updated Oct. 14, 2010

After Gordon unexpectedly announced his retirement plans in mid-December, Democrats expressed confidence the party would hold the Republican-trending middle Tennessee district.

But recruitment efforts never panned out, and Democrats were left with little-known political newcomer Brett Carter, who will simply be outgunned by state Sen. Diane Black (R) in November.

National Democratic strategists acknowledge the seat is gone and won't waste their resources trying to hold it.


District Information

District Profile from Politics in America

Nashville's population boom continues to spill into much of the 6th, which surrounds Tennessee's capital city (in the neighboring 5th) clockwise from the north to the south. The hilly countryside includes two notable college communities -- Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, and Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville -- establishing a top-tier industry for the district's economy.

Two decades of explosive population growth in Rutherford County (Murfreesboro) has led to commercial expansion. A well-developed highway system eases the commute from Murfreesboro into Nashville, but most residents have relied more on automobile manufacturing jobs in the 6th itself. Nissan's primary American plant in Smyrna is expanding production, and local auto parts manufacturers have supplied other plants located around the state. Despite tobacco revenue losses in some of the 6th's farming communities, Robertson County is still a key tobacco producer. Book, video and music distribution also is big business in the district.

In recent elections, Republican candidates have benefited from the presence of newly arrived suburbanites in the historically Democratic 6th. Unionized conservative Democrats are losing their electoral clout as socially conservative tendencies launch Republicans into public office.

Major Industry

Distribution, higher education, tobacco, auto manufacturing


Murfreesboro, 108,755; Hendersonville, 51,372; Smyrna, 39,974; La Vergne, 32,588


Shelbyville is the heart of Tennessee Walking Horse country.




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