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Tennessee Republicans finally unveiled their long-awaited congressional redistricting proposal on Friday:

New TN congressional map
(click for larger)
(Hat-tip: DrPhillips for the map)

Moving west to east, we'll start with TN-08 and the Memphis-based TN-09. TN-09 has likely become significantly more African-American, as the white precincts have been scooped out by that tentacle of the new TN-08; they are replaced by several heavily-black precincts in North Memphis taken from the old TN-08. This, compounded by the removal of the several relatively-blue counties on the east end of the old TN-08 will likely shift the 8th several points to the right. By stuffing more Republicans into the 8th, Marsha Blackburn's 7th becomes, accordingly, unpacked somewhat. However, anchored in the heavily-GOP suburbs of Williamson County (Brentwood), things won't really change much in the 7th.

Coming more to Middle Tennessee now, Democrat Jim Cooper's district has already been the topic of much discussion on Daily Kos Elections. Even with the addition of about 33,000 GOP-leaning residents in the south of Davidson County, the district will likely shift vaguely bluer with the replacement of a very-GOP part of Wilson County with all of somewhat-GOP leaning Dickson County. (The old Wilson County part likely results from the 2002 map attempting to relieve pressure on Dem Bart Gordon, who retired from TN-06 last year.)

Speaking of which, did you know 90% of Tennessee's cat fud is produced in the old TN-06? Old Swingnuts will remember how now-Rep. Diane Black walked out of one of the clowniest of clown car GOP primaries last year with just 31%. (She came, alas, a potatoe or two short of Ben "23%" Quayle in AZ-03). Her main competitors then, Lou Ann Zelenik and St. Sen. Jim Tracy, hailed from Rutherford County. Helpfully for her, Rutherford County is now moved, in its entirety, to TN-04 held by fellow freshman Scott DesJarlais. The cat fud can truly fly here, as Rutherford-based St. Sen. Bill Ketron has long made Congressional ambitions clear.

Finally, in east Tennessee, there's some rearrangement between TN-02 and TN-03 - the purpose of which we haven't really yet figured out. This is all solidly Republican territory, so there may be parochial concerns afoot here. TN-03 freshman GOPer Chuck Fleischmann (who emerged in 2010 with 30% of the primary vote to replace Zach Wamp) does face Zach's son Weston Wamp in a potentially competitive primary. How the new district affects this race is somewhat murky as well: Fleischmann's best counties—Roane and Union—are now entirely in the district, but other areas where he ran strong, like Claiborne County, have been excised. Fleischmann and the Wamp family are from the Chattanooga area (Hamilton Co.), which remains in the district in its entirety.

And lastly, there's TN-01, which is the district that has changed the least, at least according to legislature. This indeed appears to be true, with the only changes being the inclusion of all of Sevier County and some slight territory swapping in Jefferson County.

Overall, this map likely serves to cement the GOP's 7-2 hold on the delegation. It's a sharp cry from the 5-4 the Dems held until 2010, but also remember that the 2002 map was quite the Dem gerrymander, where Al Gore won all 5 Dem-held seats in 2000.

3:39 PM PT: There's some debate over this last point, with Polidata showing that Gore narrowly lost both the old 4th and 6th, but NCEC showing that Gore did indeed win five of nine.

Originally posted to jeffmd on Sun Jan 08, 2012 at 12:34 PM PST.

Also republished by Three Star Kossacks and Daily Kos Elections.

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