Another House Democrat has dealt a further blow to his fellow party members’ hopes of survival in the looming midterms by announcing he won’t be running for reelection.
Longtime U.S. House Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) announced today that he is joining 28 other House Democrats and fleeing the sinking ship before the critical 2022 midterms.
In a statement, Cooper said: “Today I am announcing that I will not run for re-election to Congress.
“After 32 years in office, I will be leaving Congress next year.
“I cannot thank the people of Nashville enough.
“You backed me more than almost anyone in Tennessee history.
“Having started as the youngest congressman in America, even after my record tenure, I am still only 67 years old. Despite my strength at the polls, I could not stop the General Assembly from dismembering Nashville.
“No one tried harder to keep our city whole.
“I explored every possible way, including lawsuits, to stop the gerrymandering and to win one of the three new congressional districts that now divide Nashville.
“There’s no way, at least for me in this election cycle, but there may be a path for other worthy candidates. I am announcing my decision promptly so that others have more time to campaign,” he said.
“Democrats’ retirement crisis shows no signs of slowing down,” said Camille Gallo, a spokesperson for the National Republican Congressional Committee.
“No one wants to run on Democrats’ radical agenda of violent crime, open borders, and skyrocketing prices.”
Today I am announcing that I will not run for re-election to Congress. After 32 years in office, I will be leaving Congress next year.
I cannot thank the people of Nashville enough. You backed me more than almost anyone in Tennessee history. pic.twitter.com/C6LE31uFQC
— Jim Cooper (@repjimcooper) January 25, 2022
Cooper, a conservative Blue Dog Democrat, is part of a storied Tennessee family. His brother is the mayor of Nashville and his father was a governor of the state.
He has sometimes gone after his own party, repeatedly voting against Nancy Pelosi as party leader, though he did back her for speaker in 2021, when she faced extremely narrow margins.
His current district includes all of Nashville, and President Joe Biden carried it by 24 points in 2020.
But the GOP legislature in Tennessee is advancing a map that would have transformed it into a district that Donald Trump would have carried comfortably.
Tennessee is one of a handful of states where Republicans have gotten more ruthless in their redistricting, after showing surprising reluctance to carve up other blue cities in red states, such as Louisville, Ky. and Kansas City, Mo.