Tennessee's 8th congressional district

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Tennessee's 8th congressional district
Current Representative Stephen Fincher (RCrockett County)
Population (2000) 632,143
Median income $33,001
Ethnicity 75.2% White, 22.4% Black, 0.5% Asian, 1.6% Hispanic, 0.3% Native American, 0.1% other
Cook PVI R+15[1]

The 8th Congressional District of Tennessee is a congressional district in Tennessee. It currently includes roughly the western part of the state excluding Memphis, and borders Arkansas, Missouri, and Kentucky.

The district's configuration from 1983 to 2013 occurred when Tennessee gained a 9th district as a result of the 1980 census. At that time, most of the old 7th District was reconfigured as the 8th District. Much of the territory in this district had been numbered as the 8th District from 1953 through 1973.

Historically, the 8th was a strongly Democratic district. Along with the 5th and 9th districts, it was usually not seriously contested by Republicans for most of the 20th century.

However, the Democrats in this district are nowhere near as liberal as their counterparts in the 5th and 9th districts—based in Nashville and Memphis, respectively. As with the 4th and 6th in Middle Tennessee, most self-identified Democrats in the 8th are usually conservative on social issues, and expect their legislators to focus attention upon obtaining federal funds for local public works or economic development projects, rather than to develop any talents for formulating public policy. This was especially important during the days when seniority played a greater role in determining Congressional influence than presently. Like their neighbors in nearby Mississippi and Kentucky, voters in West Tennessee have been gradually abandoning the Democrats in favor of Republicans over the past 20 years, largely under the influence of religious conservatism (part of the so-called "Bible Belt").

The 8th District is composed almost entirely of small towns and farming communities. Jackson is the largest city located entirely in the district, though the district also includes part of Clarksville and the fringes of Memphis suburbs.

The other major constituencies in the district other than small-to-medium-scale farmers and working-class whites (mostly employees of small industries or trades) are Memphis suburbanites in Tipton and eastern Shelby counties (the U.S. Navy operates a base in Millington) and affluent residents of Jackson who regularly vote Republican and African-American Democrats (generally more progressive ideologically than the region's white officeholders) who reside in the counties along the Mississippi River, those parts of Tennessee where slavery was most prevalent prior to the Civil War. For many years, these two groups largely canceled each other out in the voting booth, leaving the balance of power in the hands of voters in the counties closer to Kentucky and along the Tennessee River. However, after the 2010 census, most of heavily Republican eastern Shelby County was added to the district, giving it a character very similar to the neighboring 7th district.

Republican Stephen Fincher, the first Republican to represent this district in over a century, has held the seat since 2011.

The district from 2003 to 2013

List of representatives[edit]

Name Took Office Left Office Party District Residence Notes
District created March 4, 1823
James B. Reynolds March 4, 1823 March 4, 1825 Jacksonian D-R
John H. Marable March 4, 1825 March 4, 1829 Jacksonian
Cave Johnson March 4, 1829 March 4, 1833 Jacksonian Redistricted to the 11th district
David W. Dickinson March 4, 1833 March 4, 1835 Jacksonian
Abram P. Maury March 4, 1835 March 4, 1837 Anti-Jacksonian
March 4, 1837 March 4, 1839 Whig
Meredith P. Gentry March 4, 1839 March 4, 1843 Whig
Joseph H. Peyton March 4, 1843 November 11, 1845 Whig Died
Edwin H. Ewing  ????, 1845 March 4, 1847 Whig
Washington Barrow March 4, 1847 March 4, 1849 Whig
Andrew Ewing March 4, 1849 March 4, 1851 Democratic
William Cullom March 4, 1851 March 4, 1853 Whig Redistricted to the 4th district
Felix Zollicoffer March 4, 1853 March 4, 1855 Whig
March 4, 1855 March 4, 1859 Know Nothing
James M. Quarles March 4, 1859 March 4, 1861 Opposition
American Civil War
John W. Leftwich July 24, 1866 March 4, 1867 Unconditional Unionist
David A. Nunn March 4, 1867 March 4, 1869 Republican
William J. Smith March 4, 1869 March 4, 1871 Republican
William W. Vaughan March 4, 1871 March 4, 1873 Democratic
David A. Nunn March 4, 1873 March 4, 1875 Republican
John D. C. Atkins March 4, 1875 March 4, 1883 Democratic Redistricted from the 7th district
John M. Taylor March 4, 1883 March 4, 1887 Democratic
Benjamin A. Enloe March 4, 1887 March 4, 1895 Democratic
John E. McCall March 4, 1895 March 4, 1897 Republican
Thetus W. Sims March 4, 1897 March 4, 1921 Democratic
Lon A. Scott March 4, 1921 March 4, 1923 Republican
Gordon Browning March 4, 1923 March 4, 1933 Democratic Redistricted to the 7th district
Jere Cooper March 4, 1933 January 3, 1943 Democratic Redistricted from the 9th district, Redistricted to the 9th district
Tom J. Murray January 3, 1943 January 3, 1953 Democratic Redistricted to the 7th district
Jere Cooper January 3, 1953 December 18, 1957 Democratic Redistricted from the 9th district, Died
Fats Everett February 1, 1958 January 26, 1969 Democratic Died
Ed Jones March 25, 1969 January 3, 1973 Democratic Redistricted to the 7th district
Dan Kuykendall January 3, 1973 January 3, 1975 Republican Redistricted from the 9th district
Harold Ford, Sr. January 3, 1975 January 3, 1983 Democratic Redistricted to the 9th district
Ed Jones January 3, 1983 January 3, 1989 Democratic Redistricted from the 7th district
John S. Tanner January 3, 1989 January 3, 2011 Democratic
Stephen Fincher January 3, 2011 Present Republican Frog Jump Incumbent

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Partisan Voting Index Districts of the 113th Congress: 2004 & 2008". The Cook Political Report. 2012. Retrieved 2013-01-10. 

Coordinates: 35°51′20″N 89°05′59″W / 35.85556°N 89.09972°W / 35.85556; -89.09972