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Tennessee's 4th congressional district: Wikis


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Tennessee's 4th congressional district
TN04 109.gif
Current Representative Lincoln Davis (D)
Population (2000) 632,143
Median income $31,645
Ethnicity 93.3% White, 4.4% Black, 0.3% Asian, 1.6% Hispanic, 0.3% Native American, 0.1% other
Cook PVI R+13

The 4th Congressional District of Tennessee is a congressional district in Middle and East Tennessee. It is the state's largest district in terms of area, and one of the largest east of the Mississippi River, because of low population density and rural character. It currently includes all of Bledsoe, Campbell, Coffee, Cumberland, Fentress, Franklin, Giles, Grundy, Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Marion, Maury, Moore, Morgan, Pickett, Scott, Sequatchie, Van Buren, Warren, and White Counties, as well as portions of Hickman, Roane, and Williamson counties.

The district's current configuration dates from 1983, when Tennessee gained a district in the 1980 Census. At that time, portions of the old 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th districts were combined to form a new 4th District.

As currently drawn, the 4th is one of the relatively few seats in the nation that cannot be considered safe for either party. This is because it stretches across portions of traditionally heavily Republican East Tennessee and traditionally Democratic Middle Tennessee. The district's eastern counties are strongly Republican, except for pockets in the northeast where union membership among coal miners keeps Democrats competitive. In fact, prior to the 4th's creation, much of the district's eastern portion had not been represented by a Democrat since the Civil War. The district's western counties, however, are historically Democratic, in keeping with the preferences associated with Middle Tennessee's history.

Despite the district's seemingly volatile politics on paper, it tends to give incumbents long tenures in Washington; it has elected only three congressmen since its creation. The 4th stretches across two time zones, five of the state's eight television markets (the Tri-Cities, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Nashville and Huntsville, Alabama) and five of the state's nine radio markets (the above-mentioned cities, plus Cookeville). This gives congressional races much of the feel of statewide races; candidates' advertising budgets sometimes rival those for governor and U.S. Senate (although candidates usually conduct a significant part of their advertising in far less expensive media such as small-town newspapers, local radio and cable television). Open-seat races in this district are usually among the most-watched in the country. However, the district's large size and lack of unifying influences make it very difficult to unseat an incumbent. The New Deal heritage of the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the subsequent priority of ensuring continued funding for it and other public works projects, generally inclines voters toward keeping incumbents in office as well.

The communities in the 4th are largely dependent upon light industry economically, although significant farming interests are still visible to this day; however, most of the coal mines have long since been abandoned, with those areas now suffering from the state's highest poverty and unemployment rates. The district's population is largely aging (although its families generally have more children than the national average), with relatively few new residents moving to the area; thus its geographic size may well continue to enlarge even further over the next several decades, or at least fluctuate.

The absence of social change brought on by large-scale suburbanization in most of the territory (except for Williamson County and portions of Maury County) has left the district's political elites--Democrats in the western portion, Republicans in the eastern portion--generally unchallenged. However, even moderately liberal politics are a hard sell even in the district's strongly Democratic areas. Most of the 4th's residents are strongly conservative on social issues, and very religious (predominantly members of Baptist and Pentecostal churches and Churches of Christ); Republican presidential candidates have carried the district in all but two elections since the district was created. The two exceptions were 1992 and 1996, in which the district warmly supported Bill Clinton. This was largely due to the presence of Al Gore (who represented a large portion of the district's western section from 1977 to 1983) as the Democratic candidate for vice president. Gore just barely missed carrying the district in 2000, which may have cost him his home state--and the election.

Any number of factors, such as the popularity of the Iraqi War (the district, like rural areas generally, sends a higher percentage of its youth into the military than the U.S. at large), gun control initiatives, issues of religion in public life, and tobacco policies (long a vital cash crop in many counties) may well shift voter allegiances away from time-honored patterns set in the days following the Civil War.

Democrat Lincoln Davis of Pall Mall (in the coal mining region) has represented the district since 2003.


Recent elections

November 7, 2006, Representative of Tennessee's 4th congressional district election results
Candidates Party Votes %
  Lincoln Davis Democratic Party 123,666 66.44%
  Ken Martin Republican Party 62,449 33.55%
Source: 2006 Election Results

List of representatives

Name Took Office Left Office Party District Residence Notes
District created March 4, 1813
John H. Bowen March 4, 1813 March 3, 1815 Democratic-Republican
Bennett H. Henderson March 4, 1815 March 3, 1817 Democratic-Republican
Samuel E. Hogg March 4, 1817 March 3, 1819 Democratic-Republican
Robert Allen March 4, 1819 March 3, 1823 Democratic-Republican Redistricted to the 5th district
Jacob C. Isacks March 4, 1823 March 3, 1825 Jacksonian D-R Winchester
March 4, 1825 March 3, 1833 Jacksonian
James I. Standifer March 4, 1833 March 3, 1835 Jacksonian Kingston Redistricted from the 3rd district
March 4, 1835 March 3, 1837 Anti-Jacksonian
March 4, 1837 August 20, 1837 Whig Died
Vacant August 20, 1837 - September 14, 1837
William Stone September 14, 1837 March 3, 1839 Whig Sequatchie County
Julius W. Blackwell March 4, 1839 March 3, 1841 Democratic Athens
Thomas J. Campbell March 4, 1841 March 3, 1843 Whig Rhea County
Alvan Cullom March 4, 1843 March 3, 1847 Democratic Livingston
Hugh Hill March 4, 1847 March 3, 1849 Democratic McMinnville
John H. Savage March 4, 1849 March 3, 1853 Democratic Smithville
William Cullom March 4, 1853 March 3, 1855 Whig Carthage Redistricted from the 8th district
John H. Savage March 4, 1855 March 3, 1859 Democratic Smithville
William B. Stokes March 4, 1859 March 3, 1861 Opposition Alexandria
Andrew J. Clements March 4, 1861 March 3, [1863 Unionist Lafayette
American Civil War
Edmund Cooper July 24, 1866 March 3, 1867 Unionist Shelbyville
James Mullins March 4, 1867 March 3, 1869 Republican Shelbyville
Lewis Tillman March 4, 1869 March 3, 1871 Republican Shelbyville
John M. Bright March 4, 1871 March 3, 1875 Democratic Fayetteville Redistricted to the 5th district
Samuel M. Fite March 4, 1875 October 23, 1875 Democratic Carthage Died
Vacant October 23, 1875 - December 14, 1875
Haywood Y. Riddle December 14, 1875 March 4, 1879 Democratic Lebanon
Benton McMillin March 4, 1879 January 6, 1899 Democratic Celina Resigned after being elected Governor
Vacant January 6, 1899 - March 4, 1899
Charles E. Snodgrass March 4, 1899 March 3, 1903 Democratic Crossville
Morgan C. Fitzpatrick March 4, 1903 March 3, 1905 Democratic Hartsville
Mounce G. Butler March 4, 1905 March 3, 1907 Democratic Gainesboro
Cordell Hull March 3, 1907 March 3, 1921 Democratic Celina
Wynne F. Clouse March 4, 1921 March 3, 1923 Republican Cookeville
Cordell Hull March 4, 1923 March 3, 1931 Democratic Celina
John R. Mitchell March 4, 1931 January 3, 1939 Democratic Crossville
Albert Gore, Sr. January 3, 1939 December 4, 1944 Democratic Carthage Resigned December 4, 1944 to enter US Army
Vacant December 4, 1944 - January 3, 1945
Albert Gore, Sr. January 3, 1945 January 3, 1953 Democratic Carthage
Joe L. Evins January 3, 1953 January 3, 1977 Democratic Smithville Redistricted from the 5th district
Al Gore January 3, 1977 January 3, 1983 Democratic Carthage Redistricted to the 6th district
Jim Cooper January 3, 1983 January 3, 1995 Democratic Shelbyville
Van Hilleary January 3, 1995 January 3, 2003 Republican Spring City
Lincoln Davis January 3, 2003 Present Democratic Pall Mall


External links Tennessee Congressional districts



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