MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As Tennessee Republicans prepare to carve up Nashville into smaller congressional districts that could be easier for Republicans to win, Congressman Steve Cohen is urging them not to do the same to Memphis.
House Speaker Cameron Sexton said Tuesday that Tennessee Republicans plan to carve fast-growing Nashville into several different congressional seats. The move will potentially make it easier for the state’s GOP supermajority to gain even more power in a previously Democratic-controlled district.
Most of Memphis, the state’s other Democrat stronghold, is represented by Cohen’s 9th District, though a portion of East Memphis has been added to Republican David Kustoff’s 8th District.
Cohen, in a letter to the chairman of the House Select Committee on Redistricting, urged the committee to include all of Memphis in a single district, citing the “shared needs” of constituents in the community.
“I have long advocated both as a State Senator and in the House of Representatives for curbing partisan gerrymandering and restoring public confidence in government through redistricting by emphasizing geographical contiguity, compactness, preservation of communities of interest, and consistency with other political lines rather than mere political affiliation,” Cohen wrote.
Sexton told The Associated Press the state’s newly drawn map will be unveiled later this week, but he declined to detail just how many splits Nashville-Davidson County will face. The 5th District has long been centered on the state’s capital city and a safe Democratic stronghold in a state overwhelmingly controlled by Republicans.