Tennessee has nine Congressional seats. For most of this the past century, seven of those seats were routinely occupied by Democrats, and two by Republicans. But the two east Tennessee Republicans have been joined by two others over the past few decades as TN-03 (Chattanooga) and TN-07 (Memphis suburbs to Nashville suburbs) switched to the R column.
Now it looks fairly certain that two more seats are about to be converted from Democrat to Republican. The demographics seem to indicate that the changes may well be semi-permanent. Bart Gordon is retiring from TN-06, and John Tanner is retiring from TN-08. Both incumbent Democrats were going to have a hard time getting re-elected had they stayed in the race.
Two other seats, currently held by Democrats Jim Cooper (TN-05) and Lincoln Davis (TN-04) are attracting a surprising amount of attention and activity. They could also be in play (more on them in a later post). Only TN-09 seems safely Democrat at this point, and it seems fairly certain that Steve Cohen will retain the seat – more on that later, as well.
Of all the races, TN-06 has attracted the most attention. There are six Republicans, three Democrats, and one independent who have filed for the race. First quarter financial reports have been filed with the FEC. Raising the most money doesn’t guarantee that a candidate will win, but it’s pretty strongly correlated. Here’s what the money looks like in TN-06. The dollar amount is the total raised from individual contributions (not counting PAC money, or loans from the candidates to their own campaigns), 1/1/2010 thru 3/31/2010:
|R||Lou Ann Zelenik||$129,767|
I’d say this one is definitely an “R” pickup.
TN-08 will be more of a horse race. There are ten candidates here as well, eight Republicans and two Democrats. One of the Democrats, Roy Herron seems poised to make this a contest. Here are the fund-raising numbers (Individual contributions – not counting PAC money, or loans from the candidates to their own campaigns):
I’d give the edge to Fincher in this one right now, but there is still a long time till November.
IF the Republicans manage to win both these seats, then the 112th Congressional map for Tennessee will look like this:
Stay tuned – in part two, I’ll report and comment on the numbers from TN-04 and TN-05.