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Bedford may move to 4th Congressional District

Friday, January 6, 2012

Bedford County would move from the 6th Congressional District to the 4th as the result of proposed redistricting plans released Friday by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey. State Sen. Jim Tracy told The Associated Press he hasn't had time to consider whether or not to run for the U.S. House in the new district.

Republican lawmakers don't plan to break Nashville into several congressional seats, according to the map. Former Shelbyville resident U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, a Democrat who now represents Nashville in the House, had asked the GOP majority not to break the city up into several districts as some had speculated.

The map also indicates that the 4th District would be significantly redrawn to run from Rutherford County on outskirts of Nashville to Bradley County near Chattanooga.

Bedford County had been in the 4th District for decades but was moved into the 6th a decade ago after the 2000 Census. The 6th District is currently represented by Diane Black, the 4th by Scott DesJarlais. Both are Republicans.

The Republican congressional maps were obtained Friday by the AP from an official familiar with the plans on the condition of anonymity because the official maps had not yet been released. Later in the day, Ramsey issued a news release with a link to the map at the General Assembly web site.

At least two Republican state lawmakers, Tracy and Sen. Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro, had said they will consider challenging incumbent DesJarlais depending on the new maps. Both live in what would be the new 4th District.

Ketron did not immediately return a message seeking comment. Tracy said he had not yet seen the proposed new district.

"I haven't even had time to think about it," Tracey said in a phone interview. "Right now I'm focusing on running for the state Senate."

DesJarlais beat longtime Democratic Rep. Lincoln Davis in 2010. A spokesman had no immediate comment on the new maps.

Cooper, at a redistricting hearing in the state House in Nashville this week, urged lawmakers not to break the 5th District into several parts.

Cooper, one of two Democrats in Tennessee's nine-member congressional delegation, represents most of Nashville and parts of Cheatham and Wilson counties. Under the new proposal, Cooper would shed Wilson County, and gain heavily Republican areas in the southern part of Nashville, more of Cheatham County and all of Dickson County.

A spokeswoman said the congressman had no immediate comment until he could see Friday's proposal.