Trisha Shetty

Tennessee's 1st congressional district

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Population (2000)  632,143
Cook PVI  R+21
Median income  31,228
Tennessee's 1st congressional district
Current Representative  Phil Roe (R–Johnson City)
Ethnicity  95.8% White 2.2% Black 0.4% Asian 1.5% Hispanic 0.2% Native American 0.0% other

The Tennessee 1st Congressional District is the congressional district of northeast Tennessee, including all of Carter, Cocke, Greene, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi, and Washington counties and parts of Jefferson County and Sevier County. Cities and towns represented within the district include Blountville, Bristol, Church Hill, Elizabethton, Erwin, Greeneville, Johnson City, Jonesborough, Kingsport, Morristown, Mountain City, Newport, Pigeon Forge, Roan Mountain, Rogersville, Sneedville, Sevierville and Tusculum. The 1st District's seat in the U.S. House of Representatives has been held by Republicans since 1881.

The district was created in 1805 when the At-large seat was divided among multiple districts.

The district's current Congressman, Phil Roe was first elected in 2008 after defeating one-term incumbent David Davis in the Republican primary

Political characteristics

The 1st has generally been a very secure voting district for the Republican Party since the American Civil War, and is one of only two ancestrally Republican districts in the state (the other being the neighboring 2nd district).

Republicans (or their antecedents) have held the seat continuously since 1881 and for all but four years since 1859, while Democrats (or their antecedents) have held the congressional seat for all but eight years from when Andrew Jackson was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1796 (as the state's single at large representative) up to the term of Albert Galiton Watkins ending in 1859.

Andrew Johnson later ascended to the office of President of the United States.

The 1st was one of four districts in Tennessee whose congressmen did not resign when Tennessee seceded from the Union in 1861. Thomas Amos Rogers Nelson was reelected as a Unionist (the name used by a coalition of Republicans, northern Democrats and anti-Confederate Southern Democrats) to the Thirty-seventh Congress, but he was arrested by Confederate troops while en route to Washington, D.C. and taken to Richmond. Nelson was paroled and returned home to Jonesborough, where he kept a low profile for the length of his term.

Like the rest of East Tennessee, slavery was not as common in this area as the rest of the state due to its mountain terrain, which was dominated by small farms instead of plantations. The district was also the home of the first exclusively abolitionist periodicals in the nation, The Manumission Intelligencer and The Emancipator, founded in Jonesborough by Elihu Embree in 1819.

Due to these factors, this area supported the Union over the Confederacy in the Civil War, and identified with the Republican Party after Tennessee was readmitted to the Union in 1867, electing candidates representing the Unionist Party—a merger of Republicans and pro-Union Democrats—both before and after the war. This allegiance has continued through good times and bad ever since, with Republicans dominating every level of government. While a few Democratic pockets exist in the district's urban areas, they are not enough to sway the district.

The district typically gives its congressmen long tenures in Washington; indeed, it elected some of the few truly senior Southern Republican congressmen before the 1950s. Only eight people have represented it since 1921.

References

Tennessee's 1st congressional district Wikipedia


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