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1st Congressional District would undergo no major changes in GOP redistricting proposal

ERIK SCHELZIG • Jan 6, 2012 at 2:13 PM

NASHVILLE (AP) — Republican lawmakers don't plan to break Nashville into several congressional seats as some Democrats had feared, according to plans released Friday.

Only the 1st District in the northeastern section of the state would not see significant changes.

The plan also indicates that the 4th District would be significantly redrawn to run from Rutherford County on outskirts of Nashville to Bradley County near Chattanooga, according to the map first obtained by The Associated Press.

At least two Republican state lawmakers, Sens. Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro and Jim Tracy of Shelbyville, had said they will consider challenging incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais depending on the new maps. Both live in what would be the new 4th District.

Ketron did not immediately return a message seeking comment. Tracy said he had not yet seen the proposed new district.

"I haven't even had time to think about it," Tracey said in a phone interview. "Right now I'm focusing on running for the state Senate."

DesJarlais beat longtime Democratic Rep. Lincoln Davis in 2010, but is relatively unknown in political circles in Nashville. A spokesman had no immediate comment on the new maps.

The 4th District currently runs through 24 counties from the Kentucky border over the Cumberland Plateau to the Alabama state line. The new plan would include all or parts of 15 counties and place the northern counties into the 6th District seat currently held by Republican Rep. Dianne Black

Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper at a redistricting hearing in the state House in Nashville this week urged lawmakers not to break the 5th District into several parts.

Cooper, one of two Democrats in Tennessee's nine-member congressional delegation, represents most of Nashville and parts of Cheatham and Wilson counties. Under the new proposal, Cooper would shed Wilson County, and gain heavily Republican areas in the southern part of Nashville, plus more of Cheatham County and all of Dickson County.

A spokeswoman said the congressman had no immediate comment until he could examine the proposal more thoroughly.

Republican state Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey of Blountville and House Speaker Beth Harwell of Nashville said in a release that the new districts follow more closely to regional blocks rather than partisan differences.

Three districts would be located entirely in East Tennessee, while two others would be completely in West Tennessee. The four remaining would be anchored in Middle Tennessee.



Congressional redistricting concept: http://bit.ly/xNCnj7

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