Tennessee's 1st congressional district

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Tennessee's 1st congressional district
Tennessee US Congressional District 1 (since 2013).tif
Tennessee's 1st congressional district - since January 3, 2013.
  Phil Roe
RJohnson City
  • 57.46[1]% urban
  • 42.54% rural
Population (2016)714,504[2]
Median income$42,300[3]
Cook PVIR+28[4]

The Tennessee 1st Congressional District is the congressional district of northeast Tennessee, including all of Carter, Cocke, Greene, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi, and Washington counties and parts of Jefferson County and Sevier County. It is largely coextensive with the Tennessee portion of the Tri-Cities region of northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia.

Cities and towns represented within the district include Blountville, Bristol, Church Hill, Elizabethton, Erwin, Greeneville, Johnson City, Jonesborough, Kingsport, Morristown, Mountain City, Newport, Pigeon Forge, Roan Mountain, Rogersville, Sneedville, Sevierville and Tusculum. The 1st District's seat in the U.S. House of Representatives has been held by Republicans since 1881.

The district was created in 1805 when the at-large seat was divided among multiple districts.

The district's current Congressman, Phil Roe was first elected in 2008 after defeating one-term incumbent David Davis in the Republican primary[5]

Election results from presidential races[edit]

Year Result
2004 George W. Bush 68 - 31%
2008 John McCain 70 - 28.6%
2012 Mitt Romney 72.7 - 25.7%
2016 Donald Trump 76.7 - 19.7%

Political characteristics[edit]

The 1st has generally been a very secure voting district for the Republican Party since the American Civil War, and is one of only two ancestrally Republican districts in the state (the other being the neighboring 2nd district).

U.S. Representatives Andrew Jackson (1796-1797, at large) and Andrew Johnson (1843-1853, 1st) represented this area and later served as President of the United States

Republicans (or their antecedents) have held the seat continuously since 1881 and for all but four years since 1859, while Democrats (or their antecedents) have held the congressional seat for all but eight years from when Andrew Jackson was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1796 (as the state's single at large representative) up to the term of Albert Galiton Watkins ending in 1859.

Andrew Johnson, the seventeenth President of the United States, represented the district from 1843-1853.

The 1st was one of four districts in Tennessee whose congressmen did not resign when Tennessee seceded from the Union in 1861. Thomas Amos Rogers Nelson was reelected as a Unionist (the name used by a coalition of Republicans, northern Democrats and anti-Confederate Southern Democrats) to the Thirty-seventh Congress, but he was arrested by Confederate troops while en route to Washington, D.C. and taken to Richmond. Nelson was paroled and returned home to Jonesborough, where he kept a low profile for the length of his term.[6]

Like the rest of East Tennessee, slavery was not as common in this area as the rest of the state due to its mountain terrain, which was dominated by small farms instead of plantations.[7] The district was also the home of the first exclusively abolitionist periodicals in the nation, The Manumission Intelligencer and The Emancipator, founded in Jonesborough by Elihu Embree in 1819.[8]

Due to these factors, this area supported the Union over the Confederacy in the Civil War, and identified with the Republican Party after Tennessee was readmitted to the Union in 1867, electing candidates representing the Unionist Party—a merger of Republicans and pro-Union Democrats—both before and after the war. This allegiance has continued through good times and bad ever since, with Republicans dominating every level of government. While a few Democratic pockets exist in the district's urban areas, they are not enough to sway the district.

The district typically gives its congressmen long tenures in Washington; indeed, it elected some of the few truly senior Southern Republican congressmen before the 1950s. Only eight people have represented it since 1921.

List of members representing the district[edit]

Representative Party Years Electoral history District location
District created March 4, 1805
John Rhea
Democratic-Republican March 4, 1805 –
March 3, 1813
Redistricted from the at-large district and re-elected in 1805.
Re-elected in 1807.
Re-elected in 1809.
Re-elected in 1811.
Re-elected in 1813.
Lost re-election.
"Washington district": Carter, Greene, Hawkins, Sullivan, and Washington counties
March 4, 1813 –
March 3, 1815
Carter, Greene, Hawkins, Sullivan, and Washington counties
Samuel Powell Democratic-Republican March 4, 1815 –
March 3, 1817
Elected in 1815.
John Rhea
Democratic-Republican March 4, 1817 –
March 3, 1823
Elected in 1817.
[Data unknown/missing.]
John Blair Jackson Democratic-Republican March 4, 1823 –
March 3, 1825
[Data unknown/missing.] Carter, Greene, Hawkins, Sullivan, and Washington counties
Jacksonian March 4, 1825 –
March 3, 1835
[Data unknown/missing.]
William B. Carter Anti-Jacksonian March 4, 1835 –
March 3, 1837
[Data unknown/missing.]
Whig March 4, 1837 –
March 3, 1841
[Data unknown/missing.]
Thomas D. Arnold Whig March 4, 1841 –
March 3, 1843
[Data unknown/missing.]
President Andrew Johnson.jpg
Andrew Johnson
Democratic March 4, 1843 –
March 3, 1853
Elected Governor of Tennessee
Brookins Campbell Democratic March 4, 1853 –
December 25, 1853
[Data unknown/missing.]
Vacant December 25, 1853 –
March 30, 1854
Nathaniel G. Taylor
Whig March 30, 1854 –
March 3, 1855
[Data unknown/missing.]
Lost re-election.
Albert G. Watkins Democratic March 4, 1855 –
March 3, 1859
Redistricted from the 2nd district.
Thomas Amos Rogers Nelson - Brady-Handy.jpg
Thomas A. R. Nelson
Opposition March 4, 1859 –
March 3, 1861
Re-elected in 1861, but captured en route to Congress and failed to take his seat.
Civil War and Reconstruction
Nathaniel G. Taylor
Unionist July 24, 1866 –
March 3, 1867
[Data unknown/missing.]
Roderick R. Butler
Republican March 4, 1867 –
March 3, 1875
[Data unknown/missing.]
Lost re-election.
William McFarland Democratic March 4, 1875 –
March 3, 1877
[Data unknown/missing.]
James Henry Randolph - Brady-Handy.jpg
James H. Randolph
Republican March 4, 1877 –
March 3, 1879
[Data unknown/missing.]
Robert L. Taylor
Democratic March 4, 1879 –
March 3, 1881
[Data unknown/missing.]
Augustus H. Pettibone Republican March 4, 1881 –
March 3, 1887
[Data unknown/missing.]
Roderick R. Butler
Republican March 4, 1887 –
March 3, 1889
[Data unknown/missing.]
Alfred A. Taylor
Republican March 4, 1889 –
March 3, 1895
[Data unknown/missing.]
William C. Anderson Republican March 4, 1895 –
March 3, 1897
[Data unknown/missing.]
Walter P. Brownlow
Republican March 4, 1897 –
July 8, 1910
[Data unknown/missing.]
Vacant July 9, 1910 –
November 7, 1910
Zachary D. Massey Republican November 8, 1910 –
March 3, 1911
[Data unknown/missing.]
Sam R. Sells
Republican March 4, 1911 –
March 3, 1913
[Data unknown/missing.]
March 4, 1913 –
March 3, 1921
Carter, Claiborne, Cocke, Grainger, Greene, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sevier, Sullivan, Unicoi, and Washington counties[9]
B. Carroll Reece.jpg
B. Carroll Reece
Republican March 4, 1921 –
March 3, 1923
[Data unknown/missing.]
Lost renomination to Oscar Lovette
March 4, 1923 –
March 3, 1931
Oscar B. Lovette Republican March 4, 1931 –
March 3, 1933
[Data unknown/missing.]
Lost renomination.
B. Carroll Reece.jpg
B. Carroll Reece
Republican March 4, 1933 –
January 3, 1947
[Data unknown/missing.]
Retired to serve as chairman of the Republican National Committee
Dayton E. Phillips (cropped).jpg
Dayton E. Phillips
Republican January 3, 1947 –
January 3, 1951
[Data unknown/missing.]
Lost renomination.
B. Carroll Reece.jpg
B. Carroll Reece
Republican January 3, 1951 –
March 19, 1961
[Data unknown/missing.]
Vacant March 20, 1961 –
May 15, 1961
Louise G. Reece.jpg
Louise Reece
Republican May 16, 1961 –
January 3, 1963
Elected to finish her husband's term
Jimmy Quillen
Republican January 3, 1963 –
January 3, 1997
[Data unknown/missing.]
Bill Jenkins.jpg
Bill Jenkins
Republican January 3, 1997 –
January 3, 2007
[Data unknown/missing.]
Dave Davis, official 110th Congress photo.jpg
David Davis
Republican January 3, 2007 –
January 3, 2009
[Data unknown/missing.]
Lost renomination.
Phil Roe, Official Portrait, 112th Congress.jpg
Phil Roe
Republican January 3, 2009 –
Elected in 2008.

Historical district boundaries[edit]

2003 - 2013

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Geography, US Census Bureau. "Congressional Districts Relationship Files (state-based)". www.census.gov.
  2. ^ Bureau, Center for New Media & Promotion (CNMP), US Census. "My Congressional District". www.census.gov.
  3. ^ https://www.census.gov/mycd/?st=47&cd=01
  4. ^ "Partisan Voting Index – Districts of the 115th Congress" (PDF). The Cook Political Report. April 7, 2017. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
  5. ^ "Roe defeats incumbent Davis for 1st Congressional District nomination", Johnson City Press, August 8, 2008.
  6. ^ ""A Patriot's Voice", Neal O'Steen, Tennessee Alumnus Summer 1997". utk.edu. Archived from the original on 2010-06-18.
  7. ^ "Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture: Slavery". tennesseeencyclopedia.net. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27.
  8. ^ "First Abolition Publications 1A82 - Jonesborough, Tn. - Tennessee Historical Markers on Waymarking.com". www.waymarking.com.
  9. ^ L.A. Coolidge (1897). "Tennessee". Official Congressional Directory: Fifty-Fifth Congress. Washington DC: Government Printing Office.

Coordinates: 36°12′45″N 82°48′00″W / 36.21250°N 82.80000°W / 36.21250; -82.80000