Tennessee's 4th congressional district

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Tennessee's 4th congressional district
Tennessee's 4th congressional district - since January 3, 2013.
Tennessee's 4th congressional district - since January 3, 2013.
Current RepresentativeScott DesJarlais (RSouth Pittsburg)
Population (2000)632,143
Median income$31,645
Ethnicity93.3% White, 4.4% Black, 0.3% Asian, 1.6% Hispanic, 0.3% Native American, 0.1% other
Cook PVIR+18[1]
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Tennessee's 4th congressional district
Tennessee's 4th congressional district - since January 3, 2013.
Tennessee's 4th congressional district - since January 3, 2013.
Current RepresentativeScott DesJarlais (RSouth Pittsburg)
Population (2000)632,143
Median income$31,645
Ethnicity93.3% White, 4.4% Black, 0.3% Asian, 1.6% Hispanic, 0.3% Native American, 0.1% other
Cook PVIR+18[1]

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 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).

Recent elections[edit]

November 2, 2010, Representative of Tennessee's 4th congressional district election results
 Lincoln DavisDemocratic Party70,32938.6%
 Scott DesJarlaisRepublican Party104,02557.1%
Source: 2010 Election Results

List of representatives[edit]

NameYearsPartyDistrict ResidenceNotes
District created March 4, 1813
John H. BowenMarch 4, 1813 - March 4, 1815Democratic-Republican
Bennett H. HendersonMarch 4, 1815 - March 4, 1817Democratic-Republican
Samuel E. HoggMarch 4, 1817 - March 4, 1819Democratic-Republican
Robert AllenMarch 4, 1819 - March 4, 1823Democratic-RepublicanRedistricted to the 5th district
Jacob C. IsacksMarch 4, 1823 - March 4, 1825Jacksonian D-RWinchester
March 4, 1825 - March 4, 1833Jacksonian
James I. StandiferMarch 4, 1833 - March 4, 1835JacksonianKingstonRedistricted from the 3rd district
March 4, 1835 - March 4, 1837Anti-Jacksonian
March 4, 1837 - August 20, 1837WhigDied
VacantAugust 20, 1837 - September 14, 1837
William StoneSeptember 14, 1837 - March 4, 1839WhigSequatchie County
Julius W. BlackwellMarch 4, 1839 - March 4, 1841DemocraticAthens
Thomas J. CampbellMarch 4, 1841 - March 4, 1843WhigRhea County
Alvan CullomMarch 4, 1843 - March 4, 1847DemocraticLivingston
Hugh HillMarch 4, 1847 - March 4, 1849DemocraticMcMinnville
John Houston Savage - Brady-Handy.jpg John H. SavageMarch 4, 1849 - March 4, 1853DemocraticSmithville
William CullomMarch 4, 1853 - March 4, 1855WhigCarthageRedistricted from the 8th district
John Houston Savage - Brady-Handy.jpg John H. SavageMarch 4, 1855 - March 4, 1859DemocraticSmithville
William Brickly Stokes - Brady-Handy.jpg William B. StokesMarch 4, 1859 - March 4, 1861OppositionAlexandria
Hon. Clements - NARA - 528653.jpg Andrew J. ClementsMarch 4, 1861 - March 4, 1863UnionistLafayette
American Civil War
Edmund CooperJuly 24, 1866 - March 4, 1867UnionistShelbyville
Hon. James Mullins, Tenn., 40th Congress - NARA - 525231-cropped.jpg James MullinsMarch 4, 1867 - March 4, 1869RepublicanShelbyville
Lewis Tillman - Brady-Handy.jpg Lewis TillmanMarch 4, 1869 - March 4, 1871RepublicanShelbyville
JohnMorganBright.jpg John M. BrightMarch 4, 1871 -March 4, 1875DemocraticFayettevilleRedistricted to the 5th district
Samuel M. FiteMarch 4, 1875 - October 23, 1875DemocraticCarthageDied
VacantOctober 23, 1875 - December 14, 1875
Haywood Yancey Riddle - Brady-Handy.jpg Haywood Y. RiddleDecember 14, 1875 - March 4, 1879DemocraticLebanon
Benton McMillin 3575401083 6b3c77e538 o.jpg Benton McMillinMarch 4, 1879 - January 6, 1899DemocraticCelinaResigned after being elected Governor
VacantJanuary 6, 1899 - March 4, 1899
Charles E. SnodgrassMarch 4, 1899 - March 4, 1903DemocraticCrossville
Morgan C. FitzpatrickMarch 4, 1903 - March 4, 1905DemocraticHartsville
Mounce G. ButlerMarch 4, 1905 - March 4, 1907DemocraticGainesboro
CordellHull.jpeg Cordell HullMarch 4, 1907 - March 4, 1921DemocraticCelina
WynneFClouse.jpg Wynne F. ClouseMarch 4, 1921 - March 4, 1923RepublicanCookeville
CordellHull.jpeg Cordell HullMarch 4, 1923 - March 4, 1931DemocraticCelina
John R. MitchellMarch 4, 1931 - January 3, 1939DemocraticCrossville
Albert Gore Sr..jpg Albert Gore, Sr.January 3, 1939 - December 4, 1944DemocraticCarthageResigned December 4, 1944 to enter US Army
VacantDecember 4, 1944 - January 3, 1945
Albert Gore Sr..jpg Albert Gore, Sr.January 3, 1945 - January 3, 1953DemocraticCarthage
Joe L. Evins.jpg Joe L. EvinsJanuary 3, 1953 - January 3, 1977DemocraticSmithvilleRedistricted from the 5th district
Sengore.jpg Al GoreJanuary 3, 1977 - January 3, 1983DemocraticCarthageRedistricted to the 6th district
Jim Cooper.jpg Jim CooperJanuary 3, 1983 - January 3, 1995DemocraticShelbyville
VanHilleary.jpg Van HillearyJanuary 3, 1995 - January 3, 2003RepublicanSpring City
Lincoln Davis 111th Congressional portrait.jpg Lincoln DavisJanuary 3, 2003 -January 3, 2011DemocraticPall Mall
Scott DesJarlais, Official Portrait, 112th Congress.jpg Scott DesJarlaisJanuary 3, 2011 - PresentRepublicanSouth PittsburgIncumbent

Historical district boundaries[edit]

2003 - 2013

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Partisan Voting Index Districts of the 113th Congress: 2004 & 2008". The Cook Political Report. 2012. Retrieved 2013-01-10. 

External links[edit]

Congress.com: Tennessee Congressional districts

Coordinates: 35°15′44″N 86°37′44″W / 35.26222°N 86.62889°W / 35.26222; -86.62889