Tennessee lawmaker becomes latest House Democrat not to seek reelection

Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper of Tennessee announced Tuesday that he will not run for reelection, becoming the latest House Democrat to head for the exits as the party faces an uphill battle to retain control of the chamber in the 2022 midterms.

“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 tweeted.
“I cannot thank the people of Nashville enough. You backed me more than almost anyone in Tennessee history,” he said.
    The Tennessee Democrat is a member of the centrist Blue Dog Coalition and serves on the House Committee on Armed Services as well as the committees on Oversight and Reform and Budget.
      Cooper represents the state’s Fifth Congressional District, which covers the city of Nashville as well as other counties and outlying areas.
        CNN reported in July that Republicans were considering breaking up Cooper’s district, which could help them gain another crucial seat in the House.
        In an interview at the time, Cooper acknowledged that Republicans could effectively decide his political fate and warned that they may weaken Nashville’s influence in Washington.
          “They couldn’t beat me fairly,” Cooper told CNN. “So, now they’re trying to beat me by gerrymandering.”
          In a longer statement released on Tuesday, 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. 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.”
          But, he continued on to say, “there’s no way, at least for me in this election cycle, but there may be a path for other worthy candidates.”
          Cooper said that he decided to announce his decision “promptly so that others have more time to campaign.”
            He also said that he plans to return individual contributions he has received “for this race so that donors can redirect them as they choose.”
            This story has been updated with additional developments Tuesday.

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