Tennessee's 4th congressional district
|Tennessee's 4th congressional district|
|Current Representative||Scott DesJarlais (R–South Pittsburg)|
|Ethnicity||93.3% White, 4.4% Black, 0.3% Asian, 1.6% Hispanic, 0.3% Native American, 0.1% other|
The 4th Congressional District of Tennessee is a congressional district in mid-southern Tennessee.
Republican Scott DesJarlais has represented the district since 2011 after defeating four-term Democrat Lincoln Davis. He was the first challenger to unseat an incumbent since the district assumed its current configuration.
The 4th's current configuration dates from 1983, when Tennessee picked up a district as a result of the 1980 census. At that time, parts of the old 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 6th districts were combined to form a new 4th district. 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 the district's rural character.
From 2003 to 2013, it included 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 4th 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.
The 4th stretches across two time zones, four of the state's eight television markets (Knoxville, Chattanooga, Nashville, and Huntsville, Alabama) and five of the state's nine radio markets (the above-mentioned cities, plus Cookeville). This gave 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 were 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. Consequently, the district's congressman is usually reckoned as a statewide figure, with a good chance for winning state office in the future. 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 inclined 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; however, most of the coal mines have long since been abandoned, with those areas suffered from the state's highest poverty and unemployment rates. The district's population is largely aging (although its families generally had more children than the national average), with relatively few new residents moving to the area.
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) left the district's political elites—Democrats in the western portion, Republicans in the eastern portion—generally unchallenged. However, even moderate politics were 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.
Factors such as patriotism (the district, like rural areas generally, sent 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) have done much to shift voter allegiances away from time-honored patterns set in the days following the Civil War in the historically Democratic counties. Much like neighbors in nearby Alabama or Kentucky, the death of older residents with memories of the Great Depression and the Solid South left in its stead a decidedly more conservative constituency in the 4th, perhaps most notably on economic issues (tax cuts occupy more attention than farm subsidies, for example).
|Lincoln Davis||Democratic Party||70,329||38.6%|
|Scott DesJarlais||Republican Party||104,025||57.1%|
|Source: 2010 Election Results|
List of representatives
|District created March 4, 1813|
|John H. Bowen||March 4, 1813 - March 4, 1815||Democratic-Republican|
|Bennett H. Henderson||March 4, 1815 - March 4, 1817||Democratic-Republican|
|Samuel E. Hogg||March 4, 1817 - March 4, 1819||Democratic-Republican|
|Robert Allen||March 4, 1819 - March 4, 1823||Democratic-Republican||Redistricted to the 5th district|
|Jacob C. Isacks||March 4, 1823 - March 4, 1825||Jacksonian D-R||Winchester|
|March 4, 1825 - March 4, 1833||Jacksonian|
|James I. Standifer||March 4, 1833 - March 4, 1835||Jacksonian||Kingston||Redistricted from the 3rd district|
|March 4, 1835 - March 4, 1837||Anti-Jacksonian|
|March 4, 1837 - August 20, 1837||Whig||Died|
|Vacant||August 20, 1837 - September 14, 1837|
|William Stone||September 14, 1837 - March 4, 1839||Whig||Sequatchie County|
|Julius W. Blackwell||March 4, 1839 - March 4, 1841||Democratic||Athens|
|Thomas J. Campbell||March 4, 1841 - March 4, 1843||Whig||Rhea County|
|Alvan Cullom||March 4, 1843 - March 4, 1847||Democratic||Livingston|
|Hugh Hill||March 4, 1847 - March 4, 1849||Democratic||McMinnville|
|John H. Savage||March 4, 1849 - March 4, 1853||Democratic||Smithville|
|William Cullom||March 4, 1853 - March 4, 1855||Whig||Carthage||Redistricted from the 8th district|
|John H. Savage||March 4, 1855 - March 4, 1859||Democratic||Smithville|
|William B. Stokes||March 4, 1859 - March 4, 1861||Opposition||Alexandria|
|Andrew J. Clements||March 4, 1861 - March 4, 1863||Unionist||Lafayette|
|American Civil War|
|Edmund Cooper||July 24, 1866 - March 4, 1867||Unionist||Shelbyville|
|James Mullins||March 4, 1867 - March 4, 1869||Republican||Shelbyville|
|Lewis Tillman||March 4, 1869 - March 4, 1871||Republican||Shelbyville|
|John M. Bright||March 4, 1871 -March 4, 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 4, 1903||Democratic||Crossville|
|Morgan C. Fitzpatrick||March 4, 1903 - March 4, 1905||Democratic||Hartsville|
|Mounce G. Butler||March 4, 1905 - March 4, 1907||Democratic||Gainesboro|
|Cordell Hull||March 4, 1907 - March 4, 1921||Democratic||Celina|
|Wynne F. Clouse||March 4, 1921 - March 4, 1923||Republican||Cookeville|
|Cordell Hull||March 4, 1923 - March 4, 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 -January 3, 2011||Democratic||Pall Mall|
|Scott DesJarlais||January 3, 2011 - Present||Republican||South Pittsburg||Incumbent|
Historical district boundaries
- "Partisan Voting Index Districts of the 113th Congress: 2004 & 2008" (PDF). The Cook Political Report. 2012. Retrieved 2013-01-10.
- Martis, Kenneth C. (1989). The Historical Atlas of Political Parties in the United States Congress. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.
- Martis, Kenneth C. (1982). The Historical Atlas of United States Congressional Districts. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.
- Congressional Biographical Directory of the United States 1774–present
- Political Graveyard database of Tennessee congressmen
Congress.com: Tennessee Congressional districts
- Google map of Tennessee's 4th district at GovTrack.us
- National Atlas maps of all congressional districts
- U.S. Census data searchable by congressional district
- Opensecrets.org Fundraising data from FEC reports
- 2006 results by county from CBSNews.com