Under the Wyoming Rule, Tennessee would increase its share of districts to an impressive round dozen. But while the Volunteer State was once a swing state, it has become solidly Republican, at least for the time being. It remains unclear whether the wing of the party represented by the relatively moderate Sen. Corker or the wing of the party represented by Lt. Gov. Ramsey, who called Islam a “cult” during the primary campaign, will win in the battle for the soul of the Tennessee Republican Party, and whether the victor may determine where the fickle electorate lurches next.
As it rests now, though, Tennessee Republicans could force a 9-3 map under Wyoming Rule redistricting, and the only reason why they could not draw a 10-2 map is the Voting Rights Act.
TN-01 (safe Republican)
Rep. Phil Roe’s district just loses a few counties.
TN-02 (likely Republican)
Rep. Jimmy Duncan’s district is now consolidated around Knoxville.
TN-03 (safe Republican)
Rep.-elect Charles Fleischmann gets a nice safe district that looks a lot less disgusting than outgoing Rep. Zach Wamp’s current oddly shaped district.
TN-04 (safe Republican)
No longer Rep.-elect Scott DesJarlais’s district, this Republican-friendly open seat is leftovers from the first three.
TN-05 (safe Republican)
A partial successor to Rep.-elect Diane Black’s TN-07, this district contains her Gallatin residence and is thus her seat, for all intents and purposes. It has nothing to do with the safe Democratic district in Nashville, represented by Rep. Jim Cooper. On the contrary, this seat is safe Republican.
TN-06 (safe Republican)
Just as the previous district provided a natural home for Rep.-elect Black, DesJarlais’s gutted TN-04 is effectively replaced by this smaller district. Middle Tennessee is fertile ground for Republicans, and DesJarlais should be fine here.
TN-07 (likely Republican)
This district, which contains the home of outgoing Democratic Rep. Bart Gordon, is an open seat that leans Republican due to the territory. If Gordon runs, he might be able to win it, but it’s pretty conservative territory for the most part.
TN-08 (safe Democratic)
Team Blue finally gets on the board, with this successor to Cooper’s TN-05 solidly Democratic with its territory nibbled down to the center of Davidson County.
TN-09 (likely Republican)
With Democratic Rep. David Tanner history, Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn (currently of TN-07) gets a less stupid-looking district. She should be established enough to win even though it includes a bit more of Democratic-leaning Davidson County than before.
TN-10 (safe Republican)
This western district, which includes pieces of the current TN-07 and much of the current TN-08, is an open seat that any Republican should be able to win.
TN-11 (safe Democratic)
As VRA districts go, these aren’t very stringent. This partial successor to TN-09, represented by Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen, is 51% African American, 41% white. I don’t know if Cohen lives here, but it should be safe for Democrats.
TN-12 (likely Democratic)
I screwed over Rep.-elect Stephen Fincher, who looks like a liability for the GOP in Tennessee right now anyway, and plopped him into a coalition VRA district, which is 47% white, 46% African American, and 100% problematic for Republicans. Sen. John McCain of Arizona carried Tipton County in 2008, but only won Lauderdale County by a few points, while then-Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois won big in Shelby and Haywood counties. Fincher could win it with a great campaign, but he doesn’t seem to run great campaigns.
Thoughts, either on the map or on the Wyoming Rule?