Vulnerable Tennessee Democrat Rep. Jim Cooper announced Tuesday he would retire from Congress after 16 terms, making him the twenty-ninth House Democrat to announce plans to leave the House after this year.
Cooper, who will retire from Congress after his current term, blamed his decision on the state’s General Assembly and the once-in-a-decade redistricting. “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,” Cooper said.
“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,” Cooper added. “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.”
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
On Monday, the Tennessee General Assembly passed the redistricting maps that dramatically changed Cooper’s Fifth Congressional District. The new maps separated “Davidson County into three separate congressional districts that will dilute the county’s minority vote,” the Tennessean reported.
“Political experts say the plan, approved on a 70-26 party-line vote, could flip the 5th to the Republicans, further entrenching the GOP in Tennessee with an 8-1 advantage in the congressional delegation,” the Tennessean added.
On Monday, the Axios Nashville newsletter noted that Cooper would face a difficult reelection if the new maps were adopted, ultimately causing Cooper to “likely” face defeat.
Camille Gallo, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), the House Republican campaign committee, said, “Democrats’ retirement crisis shows no signs of slowing down. No one wants to run on Democrats’ radical agenda of violent crime, open borders, and skyrocketing prices.”
Cooper noted that he announced his decision at this time so other Democrats have more time to campaign. However, there is already a far-left candidate in the race. Odessa Kelly, backed by the far-left group Justice Democrats, announced last April that she hoped to unseat Cooper by primarying him. Kelly bashed Cooper at the time, saying he had “no real record of progressive change in nearly 40 years. This city needs a leader who will fight for the people who make Nashville great.”
However, while Kelly bashed Cooper for not achieving “progressive change,” he has voted with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on 100 percent of the major votes in the current Congress, as the Democrats have tried to pass radical wish list items from President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda.
Some of those partisan votes include the $1.2 trillion, 2,702-page so-called bipartisan infrastructure bill earlier this year — which Biden has already signed into law — and the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act (BBB) — also known as the Democrats’ reconciliation infrastructure bill.
More recently, the House also passed the two “freedom to cheat” voter bills — the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act — which would cripple Republican attempts across the country to increase election integrity.
While Cooper is the twenty-ninth Democrat to announce he will not seek reelection in the House, the congressman is only the twenty-first to announce actual retirement from the public eye — including three committee chairs — while eight more Democrats announced they would run for a different office, either in a local or state election.
There have been rumors in recent months of more Democrats making plans to abandon the House as their party is likely to lose the majority.
Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter.