Tennessee's 4th congressional district

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Tennessee's 4th congressional district
Tennessee US Congressional District 4 (since 2013).tif
Tennessee's 4th congressional district - since January 3, 2013.
Current Representative Scott DesJarlais (RSouth Pittsburg)
  • 56.16[1]% urban
  • 43.84% rural
Population (2016) 767,655[2]
Median income $41,006
Cook PVI R+20[3]

The 4th Congressional District of Tennessee is a congressional district in southern Tennessee. It has been represented by Republican Scott Desjarlais since January 2011.

Current Boundaries[edit]

The district lies in mostly in the southern part of Middle Tennessee, but stretches into East Tennessee. It is currently composed of the following counties: Bedford, Bledsoe, Franklin, Grundy, Lincoln, Marion, Marshall, Meigs, Moore, Rhea, Rutherford, Sequatchie, and Warren. It also contains significant portions of Bradley, Maury, and Van Buren counties.


Most of the district is rural, but many residents live in suburbs of Chattanooga and Nashville. The area is very hilly, and has many well-known geographical features related to its location on the Cumberland Plateau. Possibly the most famous of these is Fall Creek Falls in Van Buren County.

This part of Tennessee has several well-recognized distilleries such as Duck River, George Dickel, Southern Pride, and most famously the Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg.[4]

The region encompasses many of Tennessee's higher education facilities, such as Middle Tennessee State University, Sewanee: The University of the South, Bryan College, and Lee University.

According to the 2010 census, the five largest cities are Murfreesboro (108,755), Cleveland (41,285), Smyrna (39,974), LaVergne (32,588), and Shelbyville (20,335).


Throughout the 20th century, the 4th district took many different forms. Though, in most cases, it encompassed most of the rural area between Nashville and Knoxville. It has often been 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 the district's rural character.

For almost thirty years (1947-1977), this area of Tennessee was represented in Congress by Joe L. Evins. (Early in his political career, his district was numbered as the "5th", but that district was almost entirely in what became the 4th after the 1950s round of redistricting.) [5] Evins' successor in Congress was future vice president Al Gore, Jr., who represented the 4th from 1977 to 1983.

The district's current configuration dates from he 1980 census, when Tennessee gained a new congressional seat. Parts of what were previously in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 6th districts were combined to form a new 4th district. Most of Gore's territory became the 6th district.

The new district took pieces of traditional heavily Republican East Tennessee and traditionally Democratic Middle Tennessee. It was so large that it stretched across five of Tennessee's eight television markets (Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, the Tri-Cities, as well as the Tennessee share of the Huntsville, Alabama market). [6]

In 1982, Democrat Jim Cooper, son of former governor Prentice Cooper defeated Cissy Baker, daughter of Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker. Cooper went on to represent the district for the rest of the 80s and early 90s. [7] On paper, this district was not safe for either party, given its volatile demographics. Much of the eastern portion of the district, for instance, had not been represented by a Democrat since before the Civil War. However, Cooper was reelected five times without serious difficulty.

Cooper gave up his seat to run for Senate in 1994, where he lost to Fred Thompson. He was succeeded by Republican Van Hilleary in the massive Republican wave of that year. Hilleary was reelected three times without much difficulty, handily winning a second term even as Bill Clinton carried the district due to Gore's presence as his running mate.

In 2002, Hilleary made a failed attempt to become Governor of Tennessee, and was replaced by state senator Lincoln Davis. Davis held the seat for eight years.

In 2010, Davis was challenged by South Pittsburg doctor Scott DesJarlais, who rode to victory on the Tea Party wave of 2010 despite Davis raising more money. [8] This marked the first time that an incumbent had been defeated in the district since the reformation of the district in 1980.

Following the DesJarlais victory and the 2010 census, the 4th was made slightly more compact. The district lost its northern portion, including its territory near the Tri-Cities and Knoxville. On the other hand, the 4th gained significant additions with Rutherford County and northern Bradley County.

List of representatives[edit]

Name Years Party District Residence Notes
District created March 4, 1813
John H. Bowen March 4, 1813 - March 3, 1815 Democratic-Republican
Bennett H. Henderson March 4, 1815 - March 3, 1817 Democratic-Republican
Samuel E. Hogg March 4, 1817 - March 3, 1819 Democratic-Republican
Robert Allen March 4, 1819 - March 3, 1823 Democratic-Republican Redistricted to the 5th district
Jacob C. Isacks March 4, 1823 - March 3, 1825 Jacksonian D-R Winchester
March 4, 1825 - March 3, 1833 Jacksonian
James I. Standifer March 4, 1833 - March 3, 1835 Jacksonian Kingston Redistricted from the 3rd district
March 4, 1835 - March 3, 1837 Anti-Jacksonian
March 4, 1837 - August 20, 1837 Whig Died
Vacant August 20, 1837 - September 14, 1837
William Stone September 14, 1837 - March 3, 1839 Whig Sequatchie County
Julius W. Blackwell March 4, 1839 - March 3, 1841 Democratic Athens
Thomas J. Campbell March 4, 1841 - March 3, 1843 Whig Rhea County
Alvan Cullom March 4, 1843 - March 3, 1847 Democratic Livingston
Hugh Hill March 4, 1847 - March 3, 1849 Democratic McMinnville
John Houston Savage - Brady-Handy.jpg John H. Savage March 4, 1849 - March 3, 1853 Democratic Smithville
William Cullom March 4, 1853 - March 3, 1855 Whig Carthage Redistricted from the 8th district
John Houston Savage - Brady-Handy.jpg John H. Savage March 4, 1855 - March 3, 1859 Democratic Smithville
William Brickly Stokes - Brady-Handy.jpg William B. Stokes March 4, 1859 - March 3, 1861 Opposition Alexandria
Hon. Clements - NARA - 528653.jpg Andrew J. Clements March 4, 1861 - March 3, 1863 Unionist Lafayette
American Civil War
Edmund Cooper July 24, 1866 - March 3, 1867 Unionist Shelbyville
Hon. James Mullins, Tenn., 40th Congress - NARA - 525231-cropped.jpg James Mullins March 4, 1867 - March 3, 1869 Republican Shelbyville
Lewis Tillman - Brady-Handy.jpg Lewis Tillman March 4, 1869 - March 3, 1871 Republican Shelbyville
JohnMorganBright.jpg John M. Bright March 4, 1871 - March 3, 1875 Democratic Fayetteville Redistricted to the 5th district
Samuel M. Fite March 4, 1875 - October 23, 1875 Democratic Carthage Died
Vacant October 23, 1875 - December 14, 1875
Haywood Yancey Riddle - Brady-Handy.jpg Haywood Y. Riddle December 14, 1875 - March 3, 1879 Democratic Lebanon
Benton McMillin 3575401083 6b3c77e538 o.jpg Benton McMillin March 4, 1879 - January 6, 1899 Democratic Celina Resigned after being elected Governor
Vacant January 6, 1899 - March 3, 1899
Charles E. Snodgrass March 4, 1899 - March 3, 1903 Democratic Crossville
Morgan C. Fitzpatrick March 4, 1903 - March 3, 1905 Democratic Hartsville
Mounce G. Butler March 4, 1905 - March 3, 1907 Democratic Gainesboro
CordellHull.jpeg Cordell Hull March 4, 1907 - March 3, 1921 Democratic Celina
WynneFClouse.jpg Wynne F. Clouse March 4, 1921 - March 3, 1923 Republican Cookeville
CordellHull.jpeg Cordell Hull March 4, 1923 - March 3, 1931 Democratic Celina
John R. Mitchell March 4, 1931 - January 3, 1939 Democratic Crossville
Albert Gore Sr..jpg Albert Gore, Sr. January 3, 1939 - December 4, 1944 Democratic Carthage Resigned December 4, 1944 to enter US Army
Vacant December 4, 1944 - January 3, 1945
Albert Gore Sr..jpg Albert Gore, Sr. January 3, 1945 - January 3, 1953 Democratic Carthage
Joe L. Evins.jpg Joe L. Evins January 3, 1953 - January 3, 1977 Democratic Smithville Redistricted from the 5th district
Sengore.jpg Al Gore January 3, 1977 - January 3, 1983 Democratic Carthage Redistricted to the 6th district
Jim Cooper.jpg Jim Cooper January 3, 1983 - January 3, 1995 Democratic Shelbyville
VanHilleary.jpg Van Hilleary January 3, 1995 - January 3, 2003 Republican Spring City
Lincoln Davis 111th Congressional portrait.jpg Lincoln Davis January 3, 2003 - January 3, 2011 Democratic Pall Mall
Scott DesJarlais, Official Portrait, 112th Congress.jpg Scott DesJarlais January 3, 2011 - Present Republican South Pittsburg Incumbent

Historical district boundaries[edit]

2003 - 2013

See also[edit]


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