Rep. Hollingsworth to Retire;
Tennessee Map Advances

By Jim Ellis

Indiana Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R-Jeffersonville)

Jan. 14, 2022 — Three-term Indiana Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R-Jeffersonville) announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election in the autumn, becoming the 12th Republican to retire in this election cycle. The congressman’s retirement decision means at least 46 seats will be open in the 2022 House election.

Saying, “I ran for Congress to return this government to the people from the career politicians who had broken it, and I will be damned if I become one in the process,” Hollingsworth will draw his congressional career to a close after six years. When he first ran in 2016, he pledged to serve no more than four terms. He expresses a desire to return to the private sector.

Indiana’s 9th District occupies most of the state’s southern sector and for years was a Blue Dog Democratic area. For 17 terms, Congressman Lee Hamilton (D), who became chairman of the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees, represented the district. Democrat Baron Hill succeeded him in 1998, and served until his defeat at the hands of Republican businessman Mike Sodrel in 2004. Two years later, Hill recaptured the seat and held it until his second loss in 2010, this time to attorney Todd Young (R) who is now the Hoosier State’s senior senator.

Since the Young victory in 2010, the 9th has performed as a solid Republican district. Donald Trump carried in the seat in 2016 with a 61-34 percent margin, and again in 2020 with a similar 61-37 percent vote spread.

Under the new Indiana congressional map, the new 9th moves to the north and east, but retains its population centers in Jeffersonville, Clarksville, and New Albany, all across the Ohio River from Louisville, KY, and in the college town of Bloomington where the Indiana University resides.

Dave’s Redistricting App rates the new seat as a 59.7 percent Republican domain, while the FiveThirtyEight statistical site projects the new IN-9 with an R+30 rating, up from R+27 on the current map. The Republican primary is expected to be crowded and competitive. The Indiana candidate filing deadline is Feb. 4 for the May 3 statewide primary.

Tennessee Redistricting

Tennessee’s House of Representatives’ Redistricting Committee passed a new congressional map and sent it to the floor also Wednesday. The plan would likely cost the Democrats, and specifically 16-term Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Nashville), one of their two Tennessee districts.

Though political numbers are not yet available, most of the map would remain intact, and the Republicans would keep all seven of their current seats. The exception lies in and around the Nashville area. To make this region more Republican-friendly, the 6th District of Rep. John Rose (R-Cookeville) would be brought into the northeastern part of Davidson County and Rep. Mark Green’s (R-Clarksville) 7th CD would take the northwest section.

Currently, Rep. Cooper’s 5th CD holds all of Davidson County, which makes the seat solidly Democratic at a D+17 rating according to the FiveThirtyEight statistical site. The proposed plan would send the new 5th from the southern portion of Davidson County into part of Williamson and then would include all of Marshall, Maury, and Lewis counties. The additions will make the district much more Republican and certainly weaken Rep. Cooper’s re-election prospects.

Amusingly, the new 5th looks similar to the district shape that created the term “gerrymandering.” At the time in 1812, Massachusetts Gov. Elbridge Gerry signed a redistricting map that contained a district shaped like a salamander, which his political opponents termed a “gerrymander,” since it’s design was crafted to favor a member of the governor’s political party. Gov. Gerry, an original member of the Continental Congress, would later become vice president of the United States serving under President James Madison.

The Tennessee redistricting bill must clear the state House, state Senate, and obtain Gov. Bill Lee’s (R) signature before becoming law. Therefore, this proposed congressional map is not certain to become the final version.

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